LDP leadership candidates pitch their plans

The four contenders in the leadership race for Japan's main governing Liberal Democratic Party pitched their plans on TV on Sunday, with voting by rank-and-file party members and supporters underway.

The contenders are: Regulatory Reform Minister Kono Taro, former LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson Kishida Fumio, former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi Sanae, and LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Noda Seiko.

Kono talked with delivery persons and expressed the need for companies to allow workers to have side jobs as a way to earn a higher income.

Kishida held an online meeting with hotel managers. He said he intends to consider changing the "Go To Travel" subsidy campaign into the one utilizing the coronavirus vaccination certificates.

Takaichi spoke to the media about her plans to require men to take childcare leave and to introduce tax breaks for the use of babysitters.

Noda told the media that the number of lawmakers should be reduced by reviewing the current Lower House election system that allows candidates to run in a single-seat constituency and in the proportional representation segment.

Of the 764 votes up for grabs, half are direct votes from LDP Diet members and the remaining 382 votes will be decided by about 1.1 million rank-and-file members and supporters.

The candidates are scheduled to hold meetings online and post messages on social media on Monday, the final day of the consecutive holidays. Their efforts in the early stage of the campaign are expected to sway the outcome of the election.