Tokyo, Sep 13 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reshuffled his Cabinet in the face of dwindling public support, with a change in Foreign Affairs and Defense portfolios, and the appointment of a record number of women ministers.
Of the 19 ministers, eleven are first-timers, including the new head of Defense, Minoru Kihara, in an attempt to improve the image of his Cabinet, punctuated by gaffes and scandals.
The economy and finance portfolios remained unchanged, but foreign affairs got a new head in the form of veteran legislator Yoko Kamikawa, who had earlier served as justice minister.
The moderate Kishida hopes that the reshuffle will give a boost to his administration, and help secure a victory for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in the upcoming elections to the Lower House.
The development comes at a time marked by falling public support due to failures in the implementation of Japan’s new identity card system, called My Number, insufficient wage increases amid persistent inflation and several bribery scandals, among others.
Among the ministers that retained their portfolios were Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.
To address the problem with My Number cards, Kishida has chosen to retain Taro Kono, former foreign minister and one of the most popular political figures in the country, as Minister of Digitalization.
Among the notable changes are Kihara’s appointment as defense minister, who served as special advisor to former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in recent years and is a senior official of a bipartisan group aimed at promoting ties with Taiwan.
Of the new faces, Keizo Takemi and Ichiro Miyashita, stand out as those of the heads of Health and Agriculture, respectively.
The new Kishida Cabinet has five women, a record number for Japan, most of whom – except for Kamikawa in foreign affairs – will look over portfolios focused on internal economic revitalization and issues of birth and children.
Besides a Cabinet reshuffle, Kishida also carried out a change in posts within the LDP, retaining close figures such as Toshimitsu Motegi as general secretary and Koichi Hagiuda as head of party policies, and appointing Yuko Obuchi, daughter of the late former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, as head of election campaigns. EFE