Japanese PM Kishida’s Cabinet reshuffle amid Taiwan concerns


Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announced on Wednesday the composition of the new government led by Prime Minister Funio Kishida following the anticipated reshuffle.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida secured the current post at his second attempt and has navigated Japan through what he described as “historic” challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Russia’s war against Ukraine for the past 10 months in office.

Hirokazu Matsuno has been appointed as Education Minister.

He has placed priority on education issues during his political career.

Harvard-educated Yoshimasa Hayashi, retained as foreign minister and belonging to a ruling Liberal Democratic Party faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is touted as a potential candidate for Japan’s future leader, Kyodo News reported.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the new minister of economy, trade and industry, is known for having played a key role in Japan’s fight against the novel coronavirus as a member of the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

A former official at what is now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Nishimura has also served as economic revitalization minister. He is a senior member of the Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction once led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Nishimura, 59, a seven-term House of Representatives member from Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, ran in an LDP presidential race in 2009, when the party was not in power.

But he was defeated by Sadakazu Tanigaki, a former finance minister.

Shunichi Suzuki, retained as finance minister, has built good relations with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he backed Kishida in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential race in 2021.

New Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, a 10th-term House of Representatives member who is versed in security policies, returned to the post that he held for about a year until September 2009.

Tetsuro Nomura, appointed as minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries in his first Cabinet post, is an expert on agricultural policy with around 35 years of experience at a farming cooperative.

Akihiro Nishimura, the new environment minister, is a six-term House of Representatives member who served as a deputy chief Cabinet secretary under slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Tetsuo Saito, retained as transport minister, is the deputy leader of the Komeito party, the junior coalition partner of the Liberal Democratic Party, and known for being one of the most avid train enthusiasts in the political circle.

Originally, the government reshuffle was supposed to be carried out in early September, but Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decided to expedite the process as he wanted to accelerate the promotion of his economic concept of “new capitalism,” and take action due to rising food and fuel prices.

It is the first reform since the ruling alliance, which is led by the LDP, won resoundingly on July 10 in the election for the House of Councillors.

The work will start on drafting the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, reported Kyodo News.

Among other priorities for the government is to bolster the country’s security and decide by how much defence spending should be increased. (NAN)