Prime minister Fumio Kishida announced the changes in the Cabinet, while foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi holds the post in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The Japanese media flagged an ex-defence minister as a candidate for foreign minister, Kyodo news agency says.
The move comes after a defeat in Sunday’s Lower House election led Akira Amari, the Secretary-General of PM’s LDP, to give up the post. Commenting on the PM’s move, Mr Motegi said he had accepted the offer to take up the promising role.
“Next year, soon after the ordinary session of Parliament comes an Upper House election,” Motegi said on Monday, adding that he was asked to do the job, including that. One of the most responsible posts, the job offers huge sway over lawmakers because the holder is in charge of financing campaigns, helping to shape policy and pull fractious members into logical line.
Moreover, Amari’s appointment to the job had signalled that PM Kishida’s Cabinet was looking to restart nuclear power plants and pay close attention to economic national security in supply chains, key issues for the ex-SG of the ruling LDP.
While Kishida led the LDP to far better-than-expected election results on Sunday, Amariretains a Parliament seat thanks to Japan’s system of proportional representation.
As the local media suggest, Yoshimasa Hayashi had already emerged as a candidate for foreign minister. Besides having served as defence minister, the Harvard-educated Hayashi has also held the economy, education and agriculture spheres.