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Kishida prepares to launch cabinet  

The Monday editions of all national papers reported on the lineup of the cabinet that LDP President Kishida will launch this evening after being elected prime minister. He has decided to retain Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo in order to “maintain policy continuity” amid China’s relentless pursuit of diplomatic and security hegemony.  The incoming premier has also decided to appoint Education Minister Hagiuda Koichi as trade and industry minister, former Education Minister Matsuno Hirokazu as chief cabinet secretary, former LDP Executive Acting Secretary General Noda Seiko as minister in charge of declining birth rate and childcare, and former Environment Minister Saito Tetsuo of the Komeito party as minster for land, infrastructure, and transport. 

The 13 other appointees to the 20-member cabinet are being given cabinet posts for the first time. They include Yamagiwa Daishiro as minister for economic and fiscal policy, Goto Shigeyuki as health minister, and Kobayashi Takayuki as minister in charge of economic security, a new post that Kishida created partly to address China’s rapid rise. Yamagiwa’s portfolio will include response to the coronavirus pandemic.    


The papers observed that in launching his cabinet, Kishida was eager to tap “junior politicians,” including Kobayashi Takayuki as the new economic security minister. The 46-year-old former METI bureaucrat has been closely involved in economic security as the director general of an LDP panel headed by Amari Akira, who was tapped as party secretary general. According to Nikkei, the minister will be responsible for drafting legislation on promoting economic security aimed at sustaining economic activity during a contingency without relying on China and imports. Amari reportedly said on a Sunday talk show yesterday that the economic security minister should be allowed to issue relevant instructions to all government ministries and agencies, including the National Security Secretariat.  


Asahi noted that while Kishida tapped junior, mid-career, and veteran party Diet members equally in launching his cabinet, LDP heavyweights such as former Prime Ministers Abe and Aso are bound to enjoy a greater say because of the critical roles they played in electing Kishida. The daily projected that the Kishida’s Kantei may be hamstrung by the LDP in carrying out policy initiatives, quoting LDP Secretary General Amari as saying yesterday: “LDP Vice President Aso is very powerful. He is sometimes more powerful than the prime minister.”

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