Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is poised to select its next party president on September 14.
The Japanese Prime Minister’s successor will serve out Abe’s term as party leader until September 2021 and is all but assured the premiership by virtue of the LDP's majority in parliament.
Below are the main issues the new leader will confront.
Economy and coronavirus
Abe's signature "Abenomics" growth strategy was facing headwinds because of an export slump and a sales tax increase even before the coronavirus outbreak, highlighting the problem of lifting the economy out of decades of stagnation.
Critics said Abe's "third arrow" of structural reforms — the first two were hyper-easy monetary policy and government spending — was not bold enough in the face of a fast-aging population and a rigid labor market.
Japan has not seen an explosive coronavirus outbreak but cases have been rising and the government must balance containing it and restarting the economy.