Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a new Cabinet Wednesday, changing ministers in 17 of the 19 posts and bringing in 13 first timers, the highest figure for any he has formed.
The Cabinet was inaugurated after an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace in the afternoon. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the roster of the reshuffled Cabinet at a press conference earlier in the day.
Following the launch of the new Cabinet, Abe, 64, will ramp up efforts so that he can leave political legacies, such as achieving his long-cherished goal of revising the war-renouncing Constitution, during the two years left in his term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
“Under the new organization, we will strongly push forward as one united party with our long-standing wish to revise the Constitution,” Abe told a meeting of LDP executives.
“The citizens’ understanding is of utmost importance,” he added. The LDP also revamped its leadership team on Wednesday.
In the Cabinet reshuffle, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, 78, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, 70, were retained in their respective posts. The two are key members of the Abe administration.
First-time ministers include LDP rising star Shinjiro Koizumi, 38, who became environment minister. He is the third-youngest person to have won a cabinet seat in the postwar period.
Also included were close aides to Abe. Former LDP Executive Acting Secretary General Koichi Hagiuda, 56, became education, culture, sports, science and technology minister, and former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura, 56, economic revitalization minister.
Seiko Hashimoto, 54, an Olympic speed-skating bronze medalist and former LDP leader in the House of Councillors, assumed the post of minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics with less than a year until the event.
Among familiar faces, Taro Kono, 56, switched from foreign to defense minister, replacing Takeshi Iwaya. Toshimitsu Motegi, 63, former economic revitalization minister, succeeded Kono as foreign minister.
Sanae Takaichi, 58, head of the steering committee of the House of Representatives, and former LDP General Council Chairman Katsunobu Kato, 63, came back as internal affairs and communications minister and health, labor and welfare minister, respectively.
Suga, Koizumi, Motegi, Kono and Kato, as well as Fumio Kishida, reappointed chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, are all viewed as potential successors to Abe.