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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 August 22 - 28  > Abe reshuffles cabinet without reflecting on popular verdict
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2007 August 22 - 28 [POLITICS]

Abe reshuffles cabinet without reflecting on popular verdict

August 28, 2007
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on August 27 reshuffled the Liberal Democratic Party leadership and his cabinet. While appointing LDP faction leaders to key posts in order to secure the LDP’s unity in support of the Abe cabinet, the prime minister has preserved the basic character of his cabinet, showing his complete failure to reflect on the popular verdict in the recent House of Councilors election that rejected his policies of constitutional revision and “structural reform.”

Prime Minister Abe at a press conference later in the day made clear that he has no intention to change his basic policy line, saying, “I have made those [appointments of cabinet members and LDP officials] in order to sincerely respond to the public’s severe verdict delivered in the House of Councilors election and restart the project of building a ‘beautiful Japan’ and implementing ‘reforms’.”

“We will review the postwar regime established after WWII, going back to its starting point. That includes the rehabilitation of education and the civil service system. This policy won’t change,” said Abe.

Abe also stressed, “We will continue to carry out ‘reforms’ however hard it may be. This is my indomitable determination and conviction.” While talking about considerations for local economies and those who are suffering from the government policies, he showed his strong intention to push ahead with his “new economic growth strategy” benefiting major corporations.

Abe appointed those who had expressed their support for him immediately after the election to key LDP posts: former Foreign Minister Aso Taro as secretary general; former LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chair Nikai Toshihiro as General Council chair; and former Acting Secretary General Ishihara Nobuteru as Policy Research Council chair.

The new 17-member cabinet is composed of seven ministers that serve for the first time, five former ministers, and five remaining in office from the previous cabinet.

Abe named Yosano Kaoru, who had served as economic and fiscal policy minister, LDP Policy Research Council chair and deputy chief cabinet secretary, as chief cabinet secretary, the key cabinet post, to replace Shiozaki Yasuhisa, who had been criticized as one of Abe’s like-minded friends.

Yosano took a lead in compiling the LDP’s draft constitution. Together with Aso, the pro-constitutional revision forces gain control of the key posts of the LDP and the cabinet.

Abe made clear that he will continue to pursue his educational reform policies by retaining Ibuki Bunmei as education minister and Yamatani Eriko as his special advisor.

While appointing former Iwate Governor Masuda Hiroya as the internal affairs minister in charge of the regional disparity issue, Abe reappointed Amari Akira as minister of economy, trade and industry, Ota Hiroko as economic and fiscal policy minister, and Watanabe Yoshimi as the administrative reform minister, demonstrating Abe’s intent to continue to carry out his “structural reform” policies.

Abe also named LDP faction leaders, including Machimura Nobutaka as foreign minister, Komura Masahiko as defense minister, and Nukaga Fukushiro as finance minister. - Akahata, August 28, 2007
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