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Japan has a New Cabinet

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On 11 September, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet yet again. As a result, one of the most respected politicians in post-war Japan will be the head of his fourth Cabinet since his triumphant return to Japan’s political arena (at the end of 2012).

We would like to remind our readers that Shinzo Abe first became Prime Minister as far back as 2006. He took over the post from one of the veterans of Japanese politics (and to a certain extent his mentor), Junichiro Koizumi. Exactly one year later, after a series of scandals that some members of his government had become embroiled in, Shinzo Abe left his post.

For a number of reasons, there was wide-spread belief within the Japanese establishment that the career of this up-and-coming young politician was over. Hence, his return to politics as the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (the LDP, one of the oldest Japanese parties) in autumn 2012 appeared to be a very risky move.

However, we reiterate that the LDP won convincingly at the time, and Shinzo Abe once again became the Prime Minister of Japan. And he has held this position for almost 7 consecutive years now, which in and of itself is a rare feat for any politician in post-war Japan. We can confidently forecast that Shinzo Abe will remain in this post until autumn 2021, when the scheduled election to choose the new President of the LDP will be held. Exactly one year ago, unusually enough, Shinzo Abe became the leader of the party for a third time in a row.

During the 7 years of his premiership, Shinzo Abe’s closest allies have occupied the most important government positions. For instance, Tarō Asō (Japan’s former Prime Minister from 2008 to 2009) has been the Minister of Finance during this entire period. Yoshihide Suga is also a part of Shinzo Abe’s inner circle and has served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary, who is responsible for directing the Cabinet of Japan (as well as any preparation work required before the government makes a decision), for the last seven years.

Tarō Kōno is also among Shinzo Abe’s closest allies. In August 2017 (i.e. during the penultimate reshuffle of the Cabinet), he became Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, and since 11 September of this year he has been the country’s Minister for Defense.

Toshimitsu Motegi, who from December 2012 to September 2014........

© New Eastern Outlook