By Naoki Sugi
A cabinet reshuffle is slated for Sept. 11, and the government has solidified a plan to have Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, 78, continue in office for the time being. He is one of the highest-ranking administrative officials. Cabinet Legislation Bureau Director-General Yusuke Yokobatake, 67, will step down and be replaced by Deputy Director-General Masaharu Kondo, 63.
Sugita hails from the National Policy Agency. He has been in office for 6 years and 9 months since the launch of the second Abe administration at the end of 2012. There was rumor that Sugita would step down after the completion of the Imperial succession ceremonies slated for this fall, but a senior official of the Prime Minister’s Office said, “[Sugita] will remain in office while Prime Minister Abe is in office.”
Yokobatake is a former public prosecutor. After being appointed director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau in 2014, he was involved in drawing up and deliberating the security-related laws. In an unusual move, his predecessor Ichiro Komatsu (now deceased) was appointed director-general directly after serving as Japanese ambassador to France. For the past two appointments, however, the tradition of promoting a deputy director-general to the director-general post has been adopted once again.