Abe mulls Cabinet post for Tanigaki

Kyodo

Presumptive Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering giving a Cabinet post to former Liberal Democratic Party chief Sadakazu Tanigaki, aiming to bolster party unity by using his predecessor, who helped pave the way for the LDP’s return to power, party sources said Thursday.

Abe, head of the LDP, which scored an overwhelming victory in Sunday’s general election and ousted Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan from power, may appoint Tanigaki as internal affairs and communications minister.

Abe also plans to name as ministers former LDP Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara, a rival candidate in the LDP leadership election in September, former Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hakubun Shimomura and Upper House member Ichita Yamamoto, the sources said.

The appointment of Ishihara, who obtained the most votes from lawmakers in the LDP presidential election, is aimed at maintaining harmony in the party, the sources said.

If picked, Yamamoto and Shimomura would join a Cabinet for the first time. Their appointments are regarded as rewards for supporting Abe in the LDP leadership poll, the sources said.

Departing Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura formally notified pertinent bodies in the Lower and Upper houses Thursday that a special three-day Diet session will be convene next Wednesday. Abe is set to be appointed prime minister at the Lower House’s plenary session.

Viewing economic recovery as one of the country’s most important issues, Abe will likely decide at the first Cabinet meeting later Wednesday to set up a new government body tasked with efforts to overcome deflation and prop up the economy, the sources said.

The launch of the economic revitalization headquarters, which will have five committees, shows Abe’s commitment to tackling Japan’s current economic downturn and his intention to compile budgets under the leadership of the prime minister’s office, not the Finance Ministry.

The headquarters will begin compiling an extra budget for fiscal 2012, which ends next March, and the initial budget for fiscal 2013.

Abe plans to tap LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Akira Amari as minister for economic revitalization.