Prime Minister Explains Aim Of Reshuffle

Prime minister explains aim of reshuffle

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described his new Cabinet as one that will offer stability, while new ministers provide the energy needed to take on challenges. In a news conference, he specifically cited imminent issues in foreign relations.

He said, "I asked Mr. Motegi to assume the post of foreign minister. He will continue to take charge of trade negotiations with the United States, which are in the final stage. He led the difficult negotiations on TPP 11 to a conclusion. His solid diplomatic skill is highly evaluated internationally. I want him to further enhance Japan's diplomacy, including more proactive economic diplomacy."

Abe says he wants Taro Kono to enhance Japan's security policies, based on his experience as foreign minister.

He said the security situation in the area around Japan is becoming increasingly severe, citing North Korea's missile launches on Tuesday.

Abe also discussed bilateral ties with South Korea, which have soured over trade and historical issues.

South Korea's Supreme Court issued a series of rulings, ordering Japanese companies to compensate people who claim they were forced to work for those firms during World War Two.

The Japanese government maintains the issue of the right to claim compensation was settled by an agreement in 1965.

He said, "The Japanese government has been urging the South Korean side to take appropriate measures in line with international law. That stance remains unchanged and will continue under the new cabinet. As we have been asserting, South Korea should abide by international promises."

Abe reiterated his commitment to amending the Constitution which has not been changed since it took effect in 1947.

He says the results of July's Upper House election have given the ruling coalition a mandate to press ahead with this key campaign promise.