The race to lead Japan's main ruling Liberal Democratic Party has come down to a runoff between Kono Taro and Kishida Fumio. The two party veterans were not able to secure more than 50 percent of votes in the first round.
In the first round of voting, Regulatory Reform Minister Kono Taro won 255 votes.
Former LDP Policy Research Council Chairperson Kishida Fumio got 256.
Former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi Sanae garnered 188.
And LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Noda Seiko drew 63.
Now 382 LDP lawmakers got the chance to cast a new vote. Another 47 votes were decided by rank-and-file members across the country.
The winner is virtually assured to be elected Prime Minister by the Diet next week since the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito control both Houses.
Within weeks, the new leader will take the party into a lower house election held in the midst of a pandemic.
The winner of the LDP leadership election will be announced as soon as the votes are counted.