Tokyo, Sept. 7 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering naming as land minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, 61, acting policy affairs chief of Komeito, the coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, to replace Keiichi Ishii, also a Komeito member, informed sources said Saturday.
In a reshuffle set for Wednesday of members of his cabinet and the LDP leadership, Abe plans to retain Hiroshi Moriyama, as chairman of the LDP’s parliamentary affairs committee, the sources said.
Komeito has been maintaining the post of land minister since the second Abe administration was launched in December 2012.
In their talks on Friday, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi asked Abe to give a ministerial post to a Komeito member in the upcoming reshuffle, and the prime minister agreed to do so, according to the sources.
After winning his seat in the House of Representatives for the first time in 1993, Akaba has been elected to the lower chamber of parliament eight times, assuming such posts as state minister of finance and state minister of economy, trade and industry.
With Ishii serving as land minister for nearly four years, some Komeito members have been calling for replacing him, sources familiar with the situation said.
Meanwhile, Abe is highly evaluating Moriyama’s ability to manage parliamentary affairs stably, as he contributed to the enactment of key bills, including those aimed at introducing casino-featuring integrated resorts in Japan and revising the immigration control law.
By retaining Moriyama in the LDP leadership, Abe aims to pave the way for making progress on parliamentary discussions on constitutional revisions in autumn and later, the sources said.
Abe is also expected to retain LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai and LDP policy affairs chief Fumio Kishida in their current posts.