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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 August 1 - 21  > Government decides to replace vice defense minister
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2007 August 1 - 21 [SDF]

Government decides to replace vice defense minister

August 18, 2007
The Abe government on August 17 decided to have Vice Defense Minister Moriya Takemasa, who is in conflict with Defense Minister Koike Yuriko, step down and appointed Personnel and Education Bureau Director Masuda Kohei to the post.

The government planned to decide on the personnel change after the cabinet reshuffle scheduled for August 27, but has apparently recognized the need to settle the issue as early as possible amid the increasing concern over Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s leadership.

The conflict between Koike and Moriya initially arose when Koike notified Moriya that he should step down at the time of the Defense Ministry’s organizational restructuring slated for September 1. Koike, who is willing to remain as the defense minister, wanted to remove Moriya who has held the top bureaucratic position for an unusually long time. However, Moriya angrily opposed Koike’s plan.

The problem has turned into confusion involving the prime minister’s office as Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa, who chairs a cabinet secretariat group in charge of appointing administrative vice ministers, expressed his displeasure, saying that Koike failed to consult him beforehand.

The media reported that behind the conflict between Koike and Moriya were the differences of policies, but it was their personal feud that caused this problem.

The public concern over the Abe Cabinet’s move to turn Japan into a nation capable of fighting wars together with the U.S. after constitutional revision, giving the green right to the exercise of the right of collective self-defense, brought about the major defeat of the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties in the recent House of Councilors election.

Without reflecting over the policy, the minister and the top bureaucrat are preoccupied with contesting the ministry leadership. This development also shed light on Prime Minister Abe’s arrogance in defying the verdict given in the election. - Akahata, August 18, 2007
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