Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

Japanese PM reshuffles cabinet amid waning support rates

Tokyo : Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reshuffled his cabinet and the executive lineup of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as public support for the government is waning.

The second cabinet reshuffle by Kishida since last year included changes to 13 out of 19 ministers, with 11 of them entering the cabinet for the first time, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the lineup announced on Wednesday, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, among six current cabinet members, remained in their posts, as Kishida seeks to maintain stability in key positions.

Notably, the number of female cabinet members jumped to a record five from two, with former Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, a veteran female lawmaker, named foreign minister to replace Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Analysts here suggested that Kishida’s freshening-up moves are to showcase his commitment to gender equality reforms, which may help boost the cabinet’s approval ratings.

Among the new faces, Minoru Kihara took the defense portfolio. Keizo Takemi and Shinako Tsuchiya were appointed health minister and reconstruction minister, respectively. Ichiro Miyashita replaced Tetsuro Nomura as minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The reshuffle came as support rates for Kishida’s cabinet have continued to slide and in August almost hit the lowest level since he took office in October 2021, amid raging public frustration over the “My Number” national identification card system and soaring prices in the absence of salary hikes.

It is also seen as an opportunity for Kishida to solidify and maintain his political support within the LDP as he prepares for the party’s presidential election scheduled for September next year.

Earlier in the day, Kishida as LDP head also changed the ruling party’s leadership.

Regarding the LDP’s four key party executives, Toshimitsu Motegi and Koichi Hagiuda were retained as secretary general and policy chief, respectively.

Yuko Obuchi, the 49-year-old daughter of late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, was appointed as election campaign chief, replacing Hiroshi Moriyama, who became chief of the general council.

Hindi Website