New cabinet ministers as well as outgoing ministers actively used social networking sites (SNS) to provide the latest information on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s shakeup of his cabinet and the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party. Some legislators jumped the gun, announcing their new posts ahead of the official announcement of the reshuffled cabinet. Outgoing ministers also posted videos and photos to directly convey their words of appreciation. The Prime Minister’s Office [Kantei] distributed live a cabinet reshuffle via Twitter.
Hakubun Shimomura, who assumed the post of chairperson of the LDP’s Election Strategy Committee on Sept. 11, posted on the afternoon of Sept. 10 that “just now I received a phone call from Prime Minister Abe and I’m grateful to accept his offer to head the Election Strategy Committee.” It is unusual for a legislator to say ahead of the official announcement that he or she received a phone call from the prime minister [with an offer for a cabinet post].
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Isshu Sugawara posted on his blog a message entitled “the day before the cabinet reshuffle” on the evening of Sept. 10, revealing that he received an unofficial offer for the cabinet post.
On Sept. 11, Minister of Defense Taro Kono, who has over 970,000 followers, posted a photo of himself with his staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Twitter, expressing his appreciation to the men and women of the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs. The message received more than 50,000 “likes.” Next he posted a message on his appointment as minister of defense. (Abridged)