Japan ex-defense minister Ishiba to challenge PM Abe as ruling party’s chief

Former Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba on Friday announced a long-shot bid to unseat Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as leader of the ruling party in elections next month. Abe is widely expected to win another term as head of the Liberal Democratic Party with Ishiba likely to be his only challenger. Polls suggest the premier is supported by around 70 percent of LDP members. Winning the vote would put Abe on the path to becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister ever, AFP reported.