Abe Cabinet (Formed on Aug. 3, 2016)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Deputy prime minister, finance minister, minister of state for financial services, overcoming deflation Taro Aso*
Internal affairs and communications minister Sanae Takaichi*
Justice minister Katsutoshi Kaneda
Foreign minister Fumio Kishida*
Education, culture, sports, science and technology minister,
 minister in charge of education reform Hirokazu Matsuno
Health, labor and welfare minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki*
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Yuji Yamamoto
Economy, trade and industry minister, minister of state
 for Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. Hiroshige Seko
Land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister, 
minister in charge of water cycle policy Keiichi Ishii*
Environment minister, minister of state for nuclear 
emergency preparedness Koichi Yamamoto
Defense minister Tomomi Inada
Chief Cabinet secretary, minister in charge of 
alleviating the burden of bases in Okinawa Yoshihide Suga*
Reconstruction minister, minister in charge of revival
 from the nuclear accident at Fukushima Masahiro Imamura
National Public Safety Commission chairman, minister in charge
 of ocean policy and territorial issues, minister of state 
for disaster management Jun Matsumoto
Minister of state for Okinawa and Northern Territories 
affairs, science and technology policy, space policy, 
strategy on Cool Japan Yosuke Tsuruho
Minister in charge of economic revitalization, minister in charge
 of total reform of social security and tax, minister of state 
for economic and fiscal policy Nobuteru Ishihara*
Minister for promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens,
 minister in charge of reform of working practices,
 minister in charge of the abduction issue Katsunobu Kato*
Minister of state for regional revitalization, minister
 in charge of administrative reform Kozo Yamamoto
Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic
 and Paralympic Games Tamayo Marukawa
Deputy chief Cabinet secretaries Koichi Hagiuda*
Kotaro Nogami
Kazuhiro Sugita*
Director general, Cabinet Legislation Bureau Yusuke Yokobatake*
* Reappointed


Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe

Date of birth: Sept. 21, 1954
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Yamaguchi No. 4 (eighth term)

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Taro Aso

Date of birth: Sept. 20, 1940
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Fukuoka No. 8 (12th term)

The reappointment of Aso, a mainstay in the Abe Cabinet since the prime minister took power in December 2012, underlines Abe’s apparent determination to maintain stability in his administration.

Compared with Abe, Aso seems to have more sympathy for Finance Ministry officials calling for fiscal discipline.

Aso reportedly opposed Abe’s decision to delay the consumption tax hike to October 2019 from April 2017. He also opposed Komeito’s call to introduce a special low-interest rate for food and drinks, which will considerably reduce revenue from the unpopular tax.

But in both cases, Aso eventually lined up behind Abe.

A grandson of late Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, Aso was born into a wealthy family and later led a local major conglomerate.

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Sanae Takaichi

Date of birth: March 7, 1961
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Nara No. 2 (seventh term)

Takaichi retains her post. The former LDP policy chief is perhaps best known for her ultraconservative views.

She is among the lawmakers who support annual visits to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, as well as a member of a nonpartisan group of lawmakers supporting Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), a far-right organization whose activities she says she is “proud” to be a part of.

Takaichi made headlines earlier this year when, as communications minister, she said the government was legally authorized to suspend operations of TV stations broadcasting “politically biased” programs. Critics blasted her comment as tantamount to repression of free speech.

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Katsutoshi Kaneda

Date of birth: Oct. 4, 1949
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Akita No. 2 (third term)

A newcomer to the Cabinet, Kaneda served as a Finance Ministry bureaucrat for 22 years after graduating from Hitotsubashi University in 1973.

At the ministry, Kaneda worked mainly in the budget bureau. He entered politics on the advice of the late Prime Minister and Finance Minister Noboru Takeshita.

After being elected to the Upper House in 1995, Kaneda served for two terms in the chamber, before switching to the Lower House in 2009.

He was appointed parliamentary secretary at the agriculture ministry in 1999 and also named senior vice foreign minister in 2005.

Referring to himself as an all-round-player, Kaneda has worked in a wide range of fields such as agriculture and welfare. He is opposed to Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord.

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Fumio Kishida

Date of birth: July 29, 1957
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Hiroshima No. 1 (eighth term)

Kishida, who retains his slot as foreign minister, a position he has held since 2012, may be disappointed over the latest Cabinet reshuffle since he was considered a potential pick for LDP secretary-general, the party’s No. 2 post.

Kishida, who heads an LDP intraparty faction, has been widely seen as a rival to Abe. The prime minister, however, has kept a tight grip on Japanese diplomacy, leaving little room for Kishida to maneuver.

This control over foreign policy can be seen at news conferences, where Kishida often reads out prepared text that is nearly identical to corresponding remarks by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Abe’s right-hand man.

Kishida, regarded as a dove, advocates moderate diplomatic policies. In October, he said his faction would not back any revision to the pacifist Constitution’s Article 9.

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Hirokazu Matsuno

Date of birth: Sept. 13, 1962
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Chiba No. 3 (sixth term)

A newcomer to the Cabinet, Matsuno graduated from Waseda University in 1986 and worked for household goods maker Lion Corp.

Keen to pursue a career in politics, he quit the firm and entered the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, a prestigious private school that has produced numerous political leaders.

A native of Chiba Prefecture, Matsuno was elected to the Lower House for the first time in 2000 after a failed bid in 1996.

In 2014 Matsuno said the government should revise the 1995 statement issued by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama that offered an apology for Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia as well as a 1993 apology over women who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

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Yasuhisa Shiozaki

Date of birth: Nov. 7, 1950
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Ehime No. 1 (seventh term)

Shiozaki, a close aide to Abe who served as chief Cabinet secretary during his first stint as prime minister in 2006, retains his post, a role he has held since September 2014.

A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Shiozaki started his career at the Bank of Japan in 1975 and is widely seen as an expert in financial affairs.

Having earned a graduate degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1982, he entered national politics after winning a Lower House seat in 1993.

In May 2011, two months after the Fukushima nuclear crisis erupted, Shiozaki, then an opposition lawmaker, advocated in a magazine interview that the nation’s capital be moved to Fukushima, “to show a vision of the future and create jobs” for disaster victims.

He is a father of two sons and married to an academic.

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Yuji Yamamoto

Date of birth: May 11, 1952
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Kochi No. 2 (ninth term)

Yamamoto returns to the Cabinet for a second time after serving as financial services minister in 2006 during Abe’s first stint as prime minister.

Working as a lawyer following his graduation from Waseda University in 1977, Yamamoto first entered politics in 1985 after being elected to the Kochi Prefectural Assembly.

During Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s administration in 2003, he served as vice finance minister. He also chaired the Lower House Budget Committee from December 2012 to October 2013.

Known to have played a key role in lifting Abe to the prime minister’s position, Yamamoto now belongs to the LDP faction led by Shigeru Ishiba, Abe’s intraparty rival who reportedly rejected an offer to become agriculture minister.

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Hiroshige Seko

Date of birth: Nov. 9, 1962
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; proportional representation (eighth term)

Named to the Cabinet for the first time, Seko replaces Motoo Hayashi. A former communications director at NTT Corp., Seko served as a key aide to Abe as deputy chief Cabinet secretary in charge of public relations.

He is the longest-serving deputy chief Cabinet secretary ever at almost four years.

Seko was first elected to the Upper House in 1998, winning election with the blessing of the LDP to the seat left empty after the death of his uncle Masataka Seko, a party heavyweight who served as home affairs minister.

A graduate of Waseda University, Seko also studied at Boston University.

He is married to Kumiko Hayashi, a lawmaker with the opposition Democratic Party. His father, Hiroaki Seko, was chairman of Kindai University in Osaka.

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Keiichi Ishii

Date of birth: March 20, 1958
Party: Komeito
Electoral district: Lower House; proportional representation (eighth term)

Ishii, a former Komeito policy chief, retains his ministerial post, a role he took over in last October’s Cabinet reshuffle.

The junior coalition party usually receives one ministerial post in the Cabinet.

A graduate of the University of Tokyo’s faculty of engineering, Ishii began his career in 1981 at the former Ministry of Construction, which is now part of the land ministry.

He entered national politics in 1993 after winning a Lower House for Komeito. Ishii served as senior vice finance minister under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

As land minister, he has handled a barrage of policy challenges, including a data fabrication scandal involving a tilting Yokohama condo.

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Koichi Yamamoto

Date of birth: Sept. 4, 1947
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Ehime No. 4 (eighth term)

This is the first Cabinet post for Yamamoto, who considers environmental policy his life’s work. He replaces Tamayo Marukawa, who has been appointed minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

An Ehime Prefecture native, Yamamoto is the son of former Lower House member Tomoichi Yamamoto.

After graduating from Keio University, he entered his father’s marine transportation company.

Yamamoto started his career in politics in 1991 as a member of the Ehime Prefectural Assembly. He was elected to the Lower House in 1993 as an LDP lawmaker from an electoral district in the same prefecture.

He has served as parliamentary vice minister for environment under the Ryutaro Hashimoto administration in 1997.

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Tomomi Inada

Date of birth: Feb. 20, 1959
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Fukui No. 1 (fourth term)

A former LDP policy chief, Inada is an up-and-coming politician particularly close to Abe, and a possible contender to become the nation’s first female prime minister.

Inada is known for her strong nationalistic views. In August 2011, she was one of three politicians who were denied entry into South Korea after they attempted to visit Takeshima Island, called Dokdo in South Korea, which is claimed by Japan and South Korea.

A standoff ensued, as the three refused to return to Japan before relenting about nine hours later. The visit increased tensions between the two countries and was a major political headache for the Democratic Party of Japan, which was then in power.

Inada also surprised many right-wing supporters when she attended the Tokyo Rainbow Pride rally in May.

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Yoshihide Suga

Date of birth: Dec. 6, 1948
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Kanagawa No. 2 (seventh term)

As a close aide to Abe, Suga retains the post he has held since December 2012.

He is currently the longest-serving chief Cabinet secretary since World War II, surpassing Yasuo Fukuda, who served under Prime Ministers Yoshiro Mori and Junichiro Koizumi.

Suga is among a handful of politicians who urged Abe to seek the LDP presidency in the fall of 2012, a key reason Abe has continued to regard him as a close ally.

On the surface, Suga has appeared a humble follower of Abe, but he has expanded his political influence by appointing favored candidates as key ranking bureaucrats.

In May 2014 he also created the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, which serves as secretariat for the prime minister on top bureaucratic appointments.

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Masahiro Imamura

Date of birth: Jan. 5, 1947
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; proportional representation (seventh term)

Imamura joins the Cabinet, replacing Tsuyoshi Takagi in the post. A former employee of the now-defunct Japanese National Railways, Imamura grabbed a Lower House seat for the first time in 1996 with backing from the LDP.

He served as a parliamentary secretary at the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry under the Yoshiro Mori administration, and later, in 2002, he was appointed the Foreign Ministry’s parliamentary secretary under the Junichiro Koizumi administration.

The University of Tokyo graduate was, however, ousted from the LDP for opposing Koizumi’s postal reforms in 2005. In the general election the same year, Imamura was re-elected as an independent.

He rejoined the LDP the following year.

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Jun Matsumoto

Date of birth: April 11, 1950
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Kanagawa No. 1 (sixth term)

This is Matsumoto’s first Cabinet post. Born in Yokohama in 1950 to a pharmacist father, Matsumoto graduated from the Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences in 1974.

After working as a pharmacist, he switched to politics, serving as an assemblyman for the city of Yokohama. In a 2014 questionnaire by the Mainichi Shimbun, Matsumoto said Article 9 of the Constitution that renounces war should be revised. He also said there was no problem with prime ministers offering their respects at Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the war dead as well as Class-A war criminals.

Matsumoto previously served as parliamentary secretary for the internal affairs ministry in 2003 and deputy chief Cabinet secretary in 2008 under former Prime Minister Taro Aso.

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Yosuke Tsuruho

Date of birth: Feb. 5, 1967
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Upper House; Wakayama (fourth term)

The University of Tokyo graduate joins the Cabinet, replacing Aiko Shimajiri, who lost her seat in the July 10 Upper House poll.

Tsuruho served as secretary to Diet heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa after working as a researcher at the Japan Economic Research Institute.

He won an Upper House seat for the first time in 1998 with the backing of the now-defunct Liberal Party, which was headed by Ozawa.

Tsuruho later left the party to join a new grouping called the New Conservative Party, formed by Liberal Party members opposed to Ozawa’s policies. After that party disbanded in 2003, Tsuruho joined the LDP.

Under the Abe administration, Tsuruho served as senior vice transport minister in 2012 and 2013.

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Nobuteru Ishihara

Date of birth: April 19, 1957
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Tokyo No. 8 (ninth term)

Ishihara remains in the post he took over from Akira Amari after he resigned in January amid cash-for-favor allegations.

After graduating from Keio University, Ishihara, the son of bombastic former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, worked for a decade as a political reporter for Nippon TV before becoming a politician.

He was first elected as a Lower House member in 1990.

Since then, he has steadily climbed the political ladder, serving in a number of prominent positions both within the Cabinet and his party, including regulatory reform minister in 2001, land minister in 2003, LDP secretary-general in 2010 and environment minister in 2012. He also heads the Tokyo chapter of the LDP.

He is also an accomplished practitioner of the Shorinji martial arts.

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Katsunobu Kato

Date of birth: Nov. 22, 1955
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Okayama No. 5 (fifth term)

While Kato retains his post as minister for promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens, he will also take on a newly created ministerial position — minister in charge of working practices reform.

A University of Tokyo graduate, Kato was a Finance Ministry bureaucrat from 1979 to 1995.

After serving as secretary for his father-in-law, Mutsuki Kato, a veteran LDP lawmaker, he was first elected to the Lower House in 2003. He has been outspoken on the need to reform the nation’s social security system amid the country’s declining population.

He was appointed parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office in 2007 and became vice secretary-general of the LDP in 2010. In 2012, he became deputy chief Cabinet secretary.

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Kozo Yamamoto

Date of birth: Aug. 8, 1948
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Fukuoka No. 10 (seventh term)

Yamamoto, the party’s expert on fiscal and monetary policy, urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone a consumption tax hike, originally set to take effect in April 2017, to 2019.

A University of Tokyo graduate, Yamamoto entered the Finance Ministry in 1971 and earned an MBA from Cornell University a few years later. While at the ministry, he served in a series of key posts, such as assistant regional commissioner at the Fukuoka Regional Taxation Bureau and as personal assistant to then Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.

He was elected to the Lower House for the first time in 1993 after an unsuccessful bid in 1990. He joined the LDP in 1998 but then temporarily left. He served as vice minister at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry during Abe’s first term as prime minister in 2006.

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Tamayo Marukawa

Date of birth: Jan. 19, 1971
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Upper House; Tokyo (second term)

The TV newscaster-turned-politician replaces Toshiaki Endo as Olympics minister.

As environment minister, Marukawa was criticized for saying that the government’s long-term goal of reducing radiation levels near Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to an annual dose of 1 millisievert or less has no scientific basis.

The goal was set by the former Democratic Party of Japan-led government, based on recommendations from the International Commission on Radiation Protection and requests from Fukushima Prefecture. She later retracted the remarks.

Marukawa entered politics after Abe persuaded her to run for the Upper House in 2007. In the 2013 Upper House poll, she received more votes than any other candidate at just over 1 million.

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