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POLITICS

Ministers’ seating order at cabinet meetings mirrors their political status

  • 2015-12-11 15:00:00
  • Translation

(SAPIO: January 2016 – pp. 99-101)

 

 The cabinet conference room is located on the fourth floor of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence (Kantei), where the 20 cabinet ministers sit around a round table with a diameter of 5.2 meters. Cabinet meetings are not open to reporters and taking photographs is not allowed. The seating order at these meetings is not made public.

 

 According to former ministers, the prime minister and the chief cabinet secretary, who facilitates the meeting, sit together. To the right of the prime minister sits the minister of internal affairs and communications, and the minister of justice is seated to the left of the chief cabinet secretary. The order of precedence of ministers, alternating between right and left, follows the list of 11 ministries under the National Government Organization Law. Ministers who do not head a ministry are seated according to the kana order of their surnames.

 

 However, sometimes a deputy prime minister or a special minister may occupy a seat of higher precedence, as in the case of Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.

 

 Therefore, the current seating order of the Abe cabinet is as shown in the graphic below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

(2) Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga

 

(3) Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi

 

(4) Minister of Justice Mitsuhide Iwaki

 

(5) Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

 

(6) Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Taro Aso

 

(7) Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hiroshi Hase

 

(8) Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki

 

(9) Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Hiroshi Moriyama

 

(10) Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Motoo Hayashi

 

(11) Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii

 

(12) Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa

 

(13) Defense Minister Gen Nakatani

 

(14) Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari

 

(15) Regional Revitalization Minister Shigeru Ishiba

 

(16) Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Minister Toshiaki Endo

 

(17) Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens Katsunobu Kato

 

(18) National Public Safety Commission Chairman Taro Kono

 

(19) Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Aiko Shimajiri

 

(20) Reconstruction Minister Tsuyoshi Takagi

 

 The deputy chief cabinet secretaries also attend the cabinet meetings but they are not given seats at the round table.

 

 However, the above seating order is just the “official” one. Actually, the seating order in the ministers’ sitting room before the cabinet conference room, where informal cabinet meetings are held, mirrors more closely each minister’s status.

 

 The seating order here is decided by the prime minister based on seniority in the Diet, length of service as minister, and such other factors that determine the political standing of a cabinet member.

 

 The current order of precedence is as shown in the photo below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

(2) Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Taro Aso

 

(3) Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari

 

(4) Regional Revitalization Minister Shigeru Ishiba

 

(5) Defense Minister Gen Nakatani

 

(6) Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

 

(7) Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii

 

(8) Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki

 

(9) Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga

 

(10) Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Motoo Hayashi

 

(11) Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi

 

(12) Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hiroshi Hase

 

(13) Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Minister Toshiaki Endo

 

(14) National Public Safety Commission Chairman Taro Kono

 

(15) Minister of Justice Mitsuhide Iwaki

 

(16) Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Hiroshi Moriyama

 

(17) Reconstruction Minister Tsuyoshi Takagi

 

(18) Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens Katsunobu Kato

 

(19) Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Aiko Shimajiri

 

(20) Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa

 

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