Lawmakers preparing for LDP leadership race

Japan's main ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to hold a leadership election later this month. The vote will effectively determine who becomes the next prime minister. So far, five lawmakers are preparing to join the race.

Former Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio is the only one to have officially announced he will run. He's visiting party members to ask for support.

Another possible contender is former Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru. He has run in leadership elections four times. He said he has secured the backing of 20 party members that's required to enter the race.

Former Internal Affairs Minister Takaichi Sanae is also set to run. She's backed by a party heavyweight -- former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. They share conservative views.

Kono Taro, the minister in charge of the vaccine rollout, is preparing to run as well. He met Finance Minister Aso Taro on Monday. Aso leads the party faction Kono belongs to, but is believed to be reluctant to throw the group's support behind him.

Former Internal Affairs Minister Noda Seiko is another possible candidate. She's given up on entering leadership races several times before, after failing to secure the 20 endorsements.

The campaign is scheduled to kick off officially on September 17th. The vote count will take place on the 29th.