By Naoki Sugi
The government is making arrangements to tap former Japanese Ambassador to Belgium Hajime Hayashi, who hails from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to replace Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobukatsu Kanehara (in charge of foreign policy), according to sources close to the government. With the cabinet shakeup that took place early this month, former Director of Cabinet Intelligence Shigeru Kitamura (who hails from the National Police Agency) was appointed secretary-general of the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and Executive Secretary to the Prime Minister Takaya Imai (who hails from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) was named to concurrently serve as special adviser to the prime minister. The two are tasked with overseeing the government’s key domestic and foreign policies.
Hayashi, Kitamura and Imai served as secretaries to Abe when he formed his first cabinet in 2006. Abe appears to keep these bureaucrats close to him to make sure the Prime Minister’s Office, Kantei, can lead foreign policy. (Abridged)