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Japan’s incoming government to be heavy with ex-PM Abe’s allies

TOKYO

Japan’s incoming prime minister Fumio Kishida will formally take office yesterday, naming authorities set to be heavy on allies of former prime minister Shinzo Abe and making sure Abe’s conservative base will retain effect over the new cabinet.

Kishida, a former foreign minister with a picture as a low-key consensus builder, was once chosen last week to lead the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), beating three different contenders to take the post and ultimately, based on the party’s majority in parliament, the premiership.

As the face of the party, the 64-year-old will additionally lead it via a normal election in the face of headwinds generated by criticism of outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s handling of the pandemic that has battered the LDP’s support ratings. The election should be held on November 28.

“I want to face this time ahead with strong emotions and robust determination,” Kishida told reporters this morning.

Though thirteen of the 20 positions will be stuffed via these with no prior experience of cabinet posts, in line with a Kishida pledge to provide chances to new people beforehand of the election, the heavyweight posts will go to allies of Abe or Taro Aso, the outgoing finance minister.

Newly appointed LDP secretary-general, Akira Amari, is close to Abe, whilst Finance Minister Taro Aso’s brother-in-law, Shunichi Suzuki, is set to change Aso. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s brother, will retain their posts, the media said.

Hirokazu Matsuno, an education minister beneath Abe, will be named to the key chief cabinet secretary position, whilst current education minister and Abe ally Koichi Hagiuda is set to become alternate and enterprise minister, the point person on energy policy.

Takayuki Kobayashi, tapped to head the new post of monetary security, is allied with Amari, who is an architect of Japan’s financial security policies aimed at China to protect sensitive technology.

The soft-spoken Kishida, from a historically dovish LDP faction, had already moved to the right during the LDP campaign, reflecting an ongoing shift in the LDP as well as the likelihood he would want Abe’s assist to win.

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