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Hagiuda, Nishimura likely to get ministerial posts in Abe cabinet

  • September 10, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 1:14 a.m.
  • English Press

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will likely give ministerial posts to Liberal Democratic Party Executive Acting Secretary-General Koichi Hagiuda, 56, and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura, 56, for the first time this week, informed sources said Monday.

The appointments will be made as part of a reshuffle of the cabinet and ruling party leadership to be carried out by Abe on Wednesday, the sources said.

The prime minister is also considering bringing Katsunobu Kato, 63, chairman of the LDP’s General Council, back to the cabinet by assigning him to a key ministerial position, the sources said.

Shunichi Suzuki, 66, minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, is believed to be named to head the LDP’s decision-making body, according to the sources.

Abe is expected to appoint Foreign Minister Taro Kono, 56, as defense minister, and economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi, 63, as foreign minister.

Ahead of the end in September 2021 of his final term of office as LDP president, Abe aims to maintain his clout by giving key ministerial portfolios to potential candidates for his successor, pundits said.

Hagiuda has a political stance close to Abe and is trusted by the prime minister. He plays a key role in communications between the LDP and the government.

Nishimura is considered to be a promising lawmaker from the LDP faction led by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, to which Abe belongs. He has worked at the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry, now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and is well versed in policies covered by the defunct and current ministries.

Kato is a close aide to Abe, having served in such posts as deputy chief cabinet secretary and health, labor and welfare minister.

Some in the LDP speculate that Kato will be given the post of minister of economy, trade and industry or minister for social security reforms, or may be assigned again to the health, labor and welfare portfolio, in which he served until autumn last year.

Suzuki is the son of former Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki. Current Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso is his brother-in-law.

Abe is expected to keep Aso, 78, in his current posts and retain Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, 70. Aso and Suga have both supported Abe since he returned to the post of prime minister in December 2012.

Taku Eto, 59, special adviser to the prime minister, is expected to become agriculture minister, the first ministerial post for him.

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