Japan’s Abe adds new faces to Cabinet


TOKYO • Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Shinzo Abe kept his economic team, including Finance Minister Taro Aso, and added several first-time Cabinet members in a reshuffle following his election last month to a third straight term as ruling party leader.

Abe, who’s in position to become Japan’s longest-serving premier, has said he would prioritise a divisive effort to change the pacifist Article 9 of the seven-decade old constitution, as well as shaking up the social security system to deal with the rapidly aging population.

The next parliamentary session may start at the end of the month, according to local media reports.

In advance of an upper house election next year, Abe appointed close associate Akira Amari to an electoral strategy post in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a political rehabilitation after he resigned over a financial scandal in 2016.

LDP secretary general Toshihiro Nikai and policy chief Fumio Kishida remain in their posts.

Among the new Cabinet line-up: Deputy PM/Finance Minister Taro Aso; Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; Foreign Minister Taro Kono; Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko; Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi; Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii; Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya; Internal Affairs Minister Masatoshi Ishida; Health Minister Takumi Nemoto; Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa; and Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama.