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What Japan's middle-of-the-road new leader means for markets

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's outgoing prime minister, left, and Fumio Kishida, former foreign minister of Japan, pose on stage after Kishida won the Liberal Democratic Party's leadership election in Tokyo on Sept. 29, 2021. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Kiyoshi Ota.

After a monthlong, surprisingly competitive race for Japan's new leader, the contest ended predictably: Fumio Kishida, the most experienced, most middle-of-the-road candidate, is set to become Japan's 100th prime minister.

For good or ill, Kishida is seen by investors as a continuity choice -- stable, but unlikely to energize markets much. Early in the race, foreign investors and retail traders were intrigued by the potential of a Taro Kono victory, attracted by his fluent English, reformist leanings and social-media savvy...

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