On yesterday’s cabinet shakeup, Yomiuri wrote that Abe apparently played it safe by retaining key ministers, including the chief cabinet secretary, and giving the remaining posts to politicians belonging to various LDP factions so as to ensure political stability. The fact that there were no “eye-catching” officials in the new lineup showed that the premier is confident about maintaining high public support ratings without relying on surprise appointments.
Other dailies said the prime minister is perhaps aiming to extend his term of office, which expires in September 2018, with the goal of deepening Diet discussions on constitutional amendment. New LDP Secretary General Nikai has indicated that party rules may be amended to allow Abe to continue his LDP presidency beyond September 2018. Asahi said the prime minister will carefully gauge the timing for a snap election, holding it sooner rather than later so as to further reinforce his political foundation.