Assuming his first Cabinet post as agriculture minister, Ken Saito is a junior House of Representatives lawmaker valued by the ruling party for his past role in parliamentary debates. He has been promoted to the new post from senior vice minister of agriculture.
After the Liberal Democratic Party was forced into opposition following its lower house election loss in 2009, Saito was picked by then LDP policy chief Shigeru Ishiba to be an interpellator during crucial budget committee deliberations.
Saito, 58, is only in his third term as a lower house member. He was among several parliamentarians, including Shinjiro Koizumi, a son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, to be elected for the first time in the 2009 poll.
Saito, a former bureaucrat of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is an expert on environment and industrial policies. He was assigned to the post of vice farm minister in 2015 under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.