Third contender joins LDP race

A third person has officially joined the race for leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party. The election later this month will effectively choose the country's next prime minister.

The latest announcement is from the minister in charge of Japan's vaccine rollout.

Regulatory Reform Minister Kono Taro said, "As leader, I want to consider people's thoughts and concerns, share information with them and send out clear messages. We must unite in our efforts to overcome the crisis we are now facing."

Kono has been elected to the Lower House eight times. He's held a number of cabinet posts, including foreign minister and defense minister.

Two others have already announced they will run. They are former Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio and former Internal Affairs Minister Takaichi Sanae.

They could be joined by former Defense Minister Ishiba Shigeru, who is considering a run. And another former internal affairs minister, Noda Seiko, says she wants to run.

Official campaigning for the September 29 election is set to start on September 17.