Japan's Abe aims to rewrite constitution in 3rd term

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is vying for his third re-election as the ruling party leader next week, extending his stay in power to work on his long-cherished ambition — to revise his country's war-renouncing constitution.

Abe reportedly has already secured about 70 percent of support from parliamentarians of the Liberal Democratic Party, and clinching the re-election would allow him up to three more years to work on a possible charter change. He has to tackle the economy and other priorities too.

He faces Shigeru Ishiba, a former defense minister, in next Thursday's only public debate before the Sept. 20 vote.

The 63 year-old Abe, prime minister since December 2012, could also become Japan's longest-serving leader with a historic third term.