During a meeting with Liberal Democratic Party executives Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that he will reshuffle the Cabinet on Sept. 3.
“I would like to make fresh changes as we enter the second chapter of Japan’s recovery featuring (work on) national security and regional economies,” Abe, who is also LDP president, said.
He said the party’s new executive lineup will also be introduced Sept. 3, according to a party official.
He is considering making major changes to LDP leadership positions, including that of secretary-general, which is currently held by Shigeru Ishiba.
Ishiba indicated Monday he will turn down Abe’s offer to become state minister in charge of national security legislation.
“It’s best that someone who thinks the same way as the prime minister answers questions in the Diet,” Ishiba said on TBS radio, suggesting he wants to retain his post as No. 2 in the party.
Ishiba also said that the Diet “debate may come to a deadlock” if he speaks as security legislation minister and is criticized by the opposition camp for saying something different from Abe.
In July, Abe’s Cabinet approved a plan to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution.
The planned new ministerial post will be vital in passing the necessary legislation, along with other security policy changes that Abe aims to push forward.
Ishiba also said the LDP’s return to power will be cemented with victory in next spring’s local elections.
“That’s something I would like to achieve” as secretary-general, he said.
Meanwhile, Abe will likely retain Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Finance Minister Taro Aso and Akira Amari, minister in charge of economic revitalization and Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks, in their current posts.
During Tuesday’s party meeting, the LDP executives held a minute of silence for the victims of the recent landslides in Hiroshima.
“The government will do everything it can” to help those affected, Abe said.
A senior official said Monday that during the reshuffle Abe is considering retaining Fumio Kishida as foreign minister, as he believes that continuity in foreign policy is important, the official said.