TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s national security adviser Shotaro Yachi appears to be on the verge of stepping down, to be replaced by Japan’s top intelligence officer, Shigeru Kitamura, Nikkei has learned.
The change is expected to take place next week when Abe reshuffles the cabinet, sources said.
If Kitamura is indeed promoted, the country’s top national security post will go to someone with a police background, rather than to a former foreign ministry official.
Yachi, a former top foreign ministry official, became the first head of the secretariat for the National Security Council, which Abe founded in January 2014. The NSC secretariat is in charge of policymaking in foreign affairs and national security.
Yachi has held extensive discussions with counterparts, including John Bolton of the U.S. and Nikolai Patrushev of Russia.
The government is concerned that the secretariat might have relied too heavily on Yachi’s individual ability and is determined to make it function well as an organization.
In addition, Yachi is 75, which has prompted Abe’s government to consider bringing in a younger council leader.
Kitamura, who has headed the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, served as a secretary to Abe during his first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007. He remains a close aide to Abe.
BY GAKU SHIMADA, Nikkei staff writer