Abe To Reshuffle Cabinet, Ldp Posts


Abe to reshuffle Cabinet, LDP posts

Japan's prime minister is set to reshuffle his Cabinet, and executives at his Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday. Shinzo Abe is expected to shift most of the ministerial posts, bringing in 13 fresh faces.

Abe will reshuffle the party leadership on Wednesday morning, and his cabinet in the afternoon.

These are the first shakeups since July's Upper House election. The vote saw the ruling coalition lose seats, but maintain a healthy majority.

Toshimitsu Motegi will be Japan's new foreign minister.

He's already made a name for himself in international circles as the top negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a Japan-US trade deal.

He will be taking over from Taro Kono. In turn, Kono is expected to become the new defense minister.

Abe is keeping in place two cabinet heavyweights. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will retain the portfolios they've held since Abe returned to power in 2012.

New to the cabinet is Shinjiro Koizumi, who will take over as environment minister.

He's a rising star in the LDP and the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

At age 38, he will be the third youngest minister in post-war history.

Sanae Takaichi will come back as Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications.

Katsunobu Kato will become the Health, Labor and Welfare Minister again.

A newcomer, Isshu Sugawara is set to take up the portfolio of economy, trade and industry minister.

Kazuyoshi Akaba is the only pick from the LDP's junior coalition partner, Komeito. He will be in charge of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism.

A former speed skater and Olympic medalist, Seiko Hashimoto, will be the minister in charge of next year's Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As for the lineup at the LDP headquarters, Abe will keep two top party influencers in key policy roles.

Toshihiro Nikai will stay on as Secretary-General, while Fumio Kishida will remain as Policy Research Council chief. Kishida is seen as a prospective successor to Abe as LDP president.

When Shunichi Suzuki vacates his post as Olympics Minister, he's slated to move to party leadership.

He's set to become the chairperson of the LDP's decision-making General Council.

Abe is scheduled to hold a news conference on Wednesday evening to outline the reasons for his selection.