Abe Cabinet (As of January 28, 2016)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Minister for Financial Services, Overcoming Deflation Taro Aso
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi
Justice Minister Mitsuhide Iwaki
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hiroshi Hase
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Hiroshi Moriyama
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, Minister for Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. Motoo Hayashi
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister, Minister in charge of Water Cycle Policy Keiichi Ishii
Environment Minister, Minister for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Tamayo Marukawa
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga
Reconstruction Minister, Minister in charge of Revival from the Nuclear Accident at Fukushima Tsuyoshi Takagi
National Public Safety Commission Chairman, Minister on Administrative Reform, Minister in charge of Disaster Management Taro Kono
Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Food Safety, Science and Technology, and Space Policy Aiko Shimajiri
Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization, Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Nobuteru Ishihara
Minister in Charge of Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens Katsunobu Kato
Minister in charge of Regional Revitalization, Minister for National Strategic Special Zones Shigeru Ishiba
Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Toshiaki Endo
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries Takashi Hanyuda
Hiroshige Seko
Kazuhiro Sugita
Director General, Cabinet Legislation Bureau Yusuke Yokobatake
*Replacements

 


Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe

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

After managing to enact the contentious government-sponsored security bills, Abe reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday for a second time, preparing for the Upper House election scheduled for next July.

Abe was re-elected as the president of the ruling LDP on Sept. 8. with no rivals challenging him for the office. He thereby extended his term as LDP president for another three years.

There is no term limit for a prime minister, but Lower House general elections, which decide the prime minister, are held at least once every four years.

In September, Abe’s ruling camp bulldozed a pair of contentious security bills through the Upper House. The legislation allows Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense, or the right to attack a third country when an ally is being attacked — even though the nation itself has not been directly harmed.

Numerous citizens and scholars called the bills unconstitutional, but the LDP-Komeito ruling camp went ahead and passed the bills through the Upper House in September.

With next summer’s Upper House election looming, Abe is now refocusing on economic issues in a quest to boost his popularity, in particular the nation’s dwindling birthrate and the need for nursing facilities to care for the elderly.

But Abe’s new economic proposals, revealed in a speech he delivered after he was re-elected LDP president, lack specifics, including how he plans to finance his expensive social welfare measures.

Abe also needs to have the Diet ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which was largely reached Monday.

Born into a family of prominent politicians, Abe’s political views were largely influenced by his grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, a wartime Cabinet member who was detained as a suspected Class-A war criminal after the end of World War II. Kishi was never indicted or tried, and after his release from prison in 1948 he eventually went on to become prime minister.

Abe is eager to fulfill his grandfather’s dream of revising the Constitution, arguing it was drafted under the strong influence of the United States during the Allied Occupation.

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Deputy Prime Minister; Finance Minister

Taro Aso

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

The 75-year-old Aso is reappointed deputy prime minister and finance minister.

A veteran politician, Aso was prime minister for a year, from September 2008. He has served in a range of Cabinet positions, including foreign minister and has held the internal affairs and communications portfolios.

The grandson of late Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, he comes from a family whose conglomerate started in coal mining in the 19th century and has since diversified into areas such as cement and real estate.

Aso is a fan of manga and has a cult following in the nation’s otaku (geek) culture. In the lead-up to last December’s Lower House election, he made a stump speech in Akihabara, Tokyo, a popular enclave for otaku.

He is also known for gaffes. He drew fire in July 2013 when he suggested that the nation learn from the Nazis in changing its pacifist Constitution. He said Germany’s Constitution under the Weimar Republic was altered by the Nazis without anyone realizing it.

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Internal affairs and Communications Minister

Sanae Takaichi

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

Takaichi retains her post. The 54-year-old Nara native graduated from the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management — a school that has produced numerous political leaders.

Takaichi moved to the U.S. in 1987 to work for Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder as a Congressional Fellow.

She successfully ran for a Lower House seat in 1993 as an independent and joined the Liberal Party, which became part of Shinshinto. Takaichi later left the party to join the LDP.

A political hawk, she was among the three members of Abe’s Cabinet to visit the Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15. On policies, Takaichi has expressed opposition to married couples refusing to adopt the same surname. She advocates regulating the sales of films and comic books with violent content.

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Justice Minister

Mitsuhide Iwaki

Date of birth: Dec. 4, 1949
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Upper House; Fukushima (third term)

Iwaki studied law at Sophia University and served as an assembly member in his native Fukushima Prefecture and as mayor of Iwaki before turning to national politics.

Drawing on his experiences in local politics, he advocates a greater share of tax revenues for local government use.

He was appointed parliamentary secretary for the transport ministry in 2002 and became vice secretary-general of the LDP in 2006.

Iwaki was deputy chief Cabinet secretary during Abe’s first prime ministership in 2007.

On his website, Iwaki stresses the importance of “properly” educating children about history so they can be proud of their country. He is also an advocate of revising the Constitution.

A dedicated cyclist, Iwaki is a frequent participant in triathlons.

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Foreign Minister

Fumio Kishida

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

Kishida retains the post of foreign minister, which he has held since December 2012.

Tasks the Waseda University graduate will be handling include overseeing Japan’s response to a North Korean investigation into the whereabouts of abductees and realizing a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks over Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

Abe initially tapped Kishida for foreign minister in 2012 to bring his extensive political experience to problems such as the standoff over relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa.

Kishida was born into a family of politicians in Hiroshima. His father and grandfather were both active in politics.

He served as secretary to his father, Fumitake, a Lower House lawmaker. After his father died, he ran successfully for a Lower House seat in July 1993.

Kishida heads a faction within the LDP.

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Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister

Hiroshi Hase

Date of birth: May 5, 1961
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Ishikawa No. 1 (6th term)

A newcomer to the Cabinet, Hase succeeds Hakubun Shimomura, who is stepping down over the Tokyo 2020 Olympics stadium debacle.

Hase rose to fame as a professional wrestler and is known to have a passion for sports matters, which Abe hopes will be a winning ticket as the Olympic tournament draws closer.

He is also known as an ardent defender of the Hague Convention on child abductions across borders. “Parents are parents for underage kids even after their divorce. They are mandated to fulfill responsibilities as parents,” he wrote in a 2013 post on Facebook.

A graduate of Senshu University, Hase entered politics in 1995 as an Upper House lawmaker. In 2000, he was elected to the Lower House as a representative from Ishikawa Prefecture. From 2005 to 2006, he served as vice education minister.

Hase is close to former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, who heads the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizing committee. It was Mori who recruited Hase to run as an LDP candidate.

Hase is married to essayist and TV personality Kyoko Takami.

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Health, Labor and Welfare Minister

Yasuhisa Shiozaki

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

Shiozaki retains his post. A close aide to Abe, he served as Chief Cabinet Secretary during Abe’s first stint as prime minister in 2006.

A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Shiozaki took up a post at the Bank of Japan in 1975 and earned a graduate degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1982. He is one of the few lawmakers fluent in English.

A desire for Japan to play a bigger role in the international community drove him to seek a career in politics, and he entered national politics by winning a Lower House seat in 1993.

Shiozaki served as vice foreign minister in the Junichiro Koizumi administration and chaired the Lower House Justice Committee in 2004.

He is a son of former LDP Lower House member and Economic Planning Agency head Jun Shiozaki.

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Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister

Hiroshi Moriyama

Date of birth: Apr. 8, 1945
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House, Kagoshima No. 5 (fifth term)

Moriyama is appointed to the Cabinet for the first time. He began his political career as an assembly member for Kagoshima city in 1975 and served for seven terms before being elected to the Upper House in 1998.

Moriyama served on the LDP panel on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In 2010, he headed a group urging the government to withdraw from the pact.

Moriyama made headlines in 2005 when he and other LDP members voted against postal privatization bills, a pet project of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. He was forced to run as an independent in the Lower House election two months later, where he defeated opponents by a landslide. He returned to the LDP in 2006.

He served as senior vice finance minister under Abe’s previous administration and the Yasuo Fukuda administration.

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Economy, Trade and Industry Minister

Motoo Hayashi

Date of birth: January 3, 1947
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House, Chiba No. 10 (eighth term)

A veteran lawmaker who has served as chairman of the Lower House committee on rules and administration will replace Yoichi Miyazawa.

Hayashi entered politics in 1972 as a secretary of his late father Taikan. He ran and won a seat in the Lower House for the first time in 1993.

Hailing from a constituency that hosts Narita International Airport, he is versed in transport issues. He served as deputy transport minister in 2003, under the administration of Junichiro Koizumi.

In August 2008, Hayashi was appointed chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and minister in charge of Okinawa Northern Territories affairs when then-Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda reshuffled his Cabinet. That stint lasted only about a month, as political deadlock forced Fukuda to resign soon afterward. Hayashi was once again appointed to the post of the commission chairman and minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs in the Cabinet of Taro Aso in 2009.

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Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister, Minister in charge of Water Cycle Policy

Keiichi Ishii

Date of birth: Oct. 6, 1945
Party: Komeito
Electoral district: Lower House; proportional representation (eighth term)

Former Komeito policy chief Ishii is appointed to the Cabinet for the first time, replacing Akihiro Ota, a veteran Komeito lawmaker.

The party usually receives one ministerial post in the Cabinet. The fact that it asked Abe to appoint the relatively young Ishii, 57, is taken to reflect Komeito’s ambition of rejuvenating itself.

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

He entered national politics in 1993, when he won a seat in the Lower House with Komeito. Ishii served as senior vice finance minister under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a role he took in 2003.

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Environment Minister

Tamayo Marukawa

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

A former TV Asahi newscaster, 44-year-old Marukawa entered politics in 2007 at the encouragement of Abe himself.

Born in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Marukawa married fellow LDP lawmaker Taku Otsuka in 2008 and later gave birth to a son. Her declared goal is to “create a society where women can balance their work and take care of their children.”

Marukawa caused a commotion in 2010, when she heckled Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, calling him “loopy” during an Upper House plenary session.

Her interest in politics derives from her time as a newscaster, when Marukawa participated in a range of news and political debate programs.

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Defense Minister

Gen Nakatani

Date of birth: Oct. 14, 1957
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Kochi No. 1 (Ninth term)

A former Ground Self-Defense Force officer, Nakatani embarked on a political career in 1990 when he was elected to the Lower House from his native Kochi Prefecture.

He served as a ranger in the GSDF and studied at the National Defense Academy, rising in 2001 to head the precursor to the Defense Ministry. Abe tapped him as defense minister in 2014.

In 1997, Nakatani played a pivotal role in pushing Japan to sign the Ottawa Treaty on anti-personnel mines. In favor of revising the Constitution, he also advocates a stronger overall security posture to deal with contingencies.

On his website he declares support for visits to the Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of the end of World War II.

He is a rugby fan.

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Chief Cabinet Secretary

Yoshihide Suga

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

Suga remains in the role of chief government spokesman and right-hand man to the prime minister. His reappointment is taken to reflect the deep trust Abe has in Suga, a politician known for his skills in controlling bureaucrats and managing political crises.

Suga is a native of Akita Prefecture, where he lived through high school. A longtime friend and ally of Abe, he served as internal affairs minister during Abe’s first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007.

Suga began his career in politics as a member of the Yokohama Municipal Assembly. He often intervenes in the appointments of senior ministry officials, making him a leading power broker.

Whenever Abe’s Cabinet faces ministerial scandals it is Suga who steps in to take care of damage control.

However, the Abe-Suga tandem has its moments of discord: Abe appeared to ignore the latter in December 2013, when Suga reportedly advised him against visiting the Yasukuni Shrine.

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Reconstruction Minister, Minister in charge of Revival from the Nuclear Accident at Fukushima

Tsuyoshi Takagi

Date of birth: Jan. 16, 1956
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House, Fukui No. 2 (sixth term)

Takagi won last year’s Lower House election against his Democratic Party of Japan rival by a landslide.

He turned to politics after graduating from Aoyama Gakuin University and running a construction materials dealership. He was elected to the Lower House for the first time in 2000.

A native of Tsuruga, which hosts the bulk of the nation’s nuclear plants, Takagi has headed a group of LDP lawmakers pushing for the restart of idled reactors. It argues that the suspension of nuclear power has driven up fuel costs and hurt the nation’s economy.

Takagi has also served on the Diet committee on abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea.

A former parliamentary secretary for defense, Takagi was appointed minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism in September 2013 but failed to retain the post in a Cabinet reshuffle a year later.

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National Public Safety Commission Chairman, Minister on Administrative Reform, Minister in charge of Disaster Management

Taro Kono

Date of birth: Jan. 10, 1963
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Kanagawa No. 15 (seventh term)

Kono hails from a political family. As chief Cabinet secretary, his father Yohei in 1993 made a landmark apology for the suffering inflicted upon women and girls forced to provide sex for the wartime military.

After studying at Georgetown University, Kono worked at printer manufacturing giant Fuji Xerox Co. before debuting as a Lower House member in 1996.

He was appointed parliamentary secretary for the internal affairs ministry in 2002 and vice justice minister in 2005.

Kono is a founding member of a cross-partisan group that calls for the abolition of nuclear power. His hobbies include diving and reading.

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Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs

Aiko Shimajiri

Date of birth: March 4, 1965
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Upper House; Okinawa (second term)

A Sendai native and mother of four, Shimajiri is known for trying to give parents a greater voice in national politics. She has espoused boosting child care facilities, increasing allowances for children and adding fertility treatment to the national health insurance program.

Her new role brings with it a range of other responsibilities, including space and maritime policies and “cool Japan.”

The Sophia University graduate joined the LDP in 2007. She was re-elected to the Lower House from her Okinawa constituency in 2009 after opposing her party’s plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within the prefecture.

In 2012, she was appointed parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office. Her hobbies include fishing and listening to music.

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Minister in Charge of Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens

Katsunobu Kato

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

Kato assumes a newly created post. He will need to exercise “a bird’s-eye view to break down ministerial barriers” and show creativity and resolve to push through change, Abe has said.

He will double as minister in charge of the abductions issue, or the unresolved whereabouts of Japanese nationals seized by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s.

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

A University of Tokyo graduate, Kato was a Finance Ministry bureaucrat from 1979 to 1995. He was first elected to the Lower House in 2003.

Kato has declared his long-term goals to include strengthening the nation’s earthquake resistance and meeting the medical and nursing needs of dementia sufferers.

He champions Abe’s “proactive pacifism” policy and has pushed for stronger ties with nations that “share values” with Japan, including the U.S., India and Australia, according to his website.

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Minister for economic revitalization

Nobuteru Ishihara

Date of birth: April 19, 1957
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Tokyo No. 8 (9th term)

A graduate of Keio University and a former reporter for Nippon Television Network, Ishihara is known to have a good relationship with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and has served in various Cabinet posts and key positions in the LDP.

Ishihara initially earned recognition as one of a new generation of policy-oriented politicians with his ardent support for the enactment of the 1998 Financial Revitalization Law.

He served as minister in charge of administrative reform and then transport minister under the Cabinet led by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and ran against Abe and others in the LDP leadership election in 2012, but was defeated.

The 58-year-old lawmaker is also the eldest son of former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara replaced Akira Amari on Jan. 28, 2016, after Amari was implicated in a bribery scandal and eventually resigned.

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Regional Revitalization Minister

Shigeru Ishiba

Date of birth: Feb. 4, 1957
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Tottori No. 1 (10th term)

Ishiba is respected for his thorough knowledge of defense and agricultural affairs. He served previously as the minister in charge of regional revitalization.

Regarded as a potential rival to Abe, Ishiba has expressed his ambition to become the next LDP leader and prime minister. He launched his own intraparty faction on Sept. 28 with 19 other lawmakers.

Some in the faction reportedly urged Ishiba not to accept the Cabinet position but to remain free to criticize the government and position himself as the nation’s next leader.

Ishiba graduated from Keio University in 1979. He earlier served as defense minister and agricultural minister.

It remains to be seen if he can increase his political influence within the party while serving in the Cabinet and whether his presence will affect the political landscape.

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Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

Toshiaki Endo

Date of birth: Jan. 17, 1950
Party: LDP
Electoral district: Lower House; Yamagata No. 1 (seventh term)

Endo retains the recently created Olympics portfolio. He will be expected to rebuild Japan’s reputation after missteps over the construction of a new national stadium and the choice of a logo for the 2020 Tokyo tournament.

In 2006, Endo served as vice minister in the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, during Abe’s first stint as prime minister.

A native of Yamagata Prefecture, he has a strong support base in the region.

Endo is a former rugby player with abundant experience in sports administration, including as secretary-general of a nonpartisan group of Diet lawmakers promoting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He drew a rugby analogy in June after becoming Olympics minister, saying he will stand on the front line as “prop No. 1” to tackle opponents and make the event a success.

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