Tokyo, Aug 10 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida remodeled his cabinet Tuesday by replacing the defense minister at a time marked by a drop in public support and his party’s ties to the Unification Church.
Kishida renewed the 19 key positions in his cabinet, in which he replaced Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi with Yasukazu Hamada but kept five positions, including Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno.
Five parliamentarians who have previously held portfolios return to ministerial posts, including Hamada, who held the post between September 2008 and September 2009 under former Prime Minister Taro Aso.
Hamada replaces Kishi, the younger brother of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was recently assassinated. Kishi has been involved in controversy over his connections with the so-called Unification Church, a religious organization indirectly linked to Abe’s assassination on Jul. 8.
Health Minister Katsunobu Kato will serve the post for a third time after leaving the cabinet with the arrival of Kishida. Kato was the government spokesman during Yoshihide Suga’s mandate, and health minister between August 2017 and October 2018, and September 2019 and 2020.
Media minister Taro Kono, who since Kishida’s appointment as prime minister had held a post in the Liberal Democratic Party, has been appointed digital affairs minister.
Kishida has also appointed Sanae Takaichi as economic security minister.
Takaichi and Keiko Nagaoka, the new head of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in her first ministerial position so far, are the only two women in Kishida’s government.
The Japanese prime minister also named former head of economic revitalization and pandemic response Yasutoshi Nishimura as the new Economy, Trade and Industry Minister.
Nine first-time ministers became part of Kishida’s cabinet, including Nagaoka and new Interior and Communications Minister Minoru Terada.
Kishida’s cabinet reshuffle comes at a time marked by falling public support following a rise in Covid-19 cases, controversy over ties between members of his party and the Unification Church, and challenges such as escalating tensions in Taiwan or the war in Ukraine. EFE