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FILE PHOTO: Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) policy chief Fumio Kishida smiles as he arrives at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, October 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon


TOKYO (Reuters) - Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, considered among contenders to be next prime minister, is unlikely to run in a ruling party leadership race in September, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing sources close to him.

Kishida, who is now the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) policy chief, will hold a news conference later in the day, Kyodo reported.

Despite being mired in a series of scandals, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's poll ratings have recovered and he is now seen as having a strong chance of winning a rare third term as head of the LDP in September.

Kishida is considered among candidates to eventually succeed Abe. Other potential successors include ex-defence minister Shigeru Ishiba, Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda and Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

The head of the LDP automatically becomes prime minister as the ruling coalition holds a majority in parliament.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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