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Eto tipped to steer security legislation; Ishiba flagged for regional revitalization post

Abe rival Ishiba now being eyed for new regional revitalization post or economy and trade portfolio

JIJI, Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering naming former Parliamentary Senior Vice Defense Minister Akinori Eto as minister for security legislation when the post is created in Wednesday’s Cabinet reshuffle, sources said.

Eto would also be expected to double as defense minister.

The farm portfolio meanwhile looks likely to be handed to agricultural policy expert and Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Koya Nishikawa, the sources said Saturday.

Nishikawa heads the LDP’s panel on the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks. This choice might help push the free trade negotiations, which involve 12 nations, toward a conclusion, given that the Lower House member has extensive knowledge of farm policy.

Yuko Obuchi, who was formerly minister in charge of the declining birthrate issue, is likely to be given a ministerial post or one of the three key posts in the ruling party, the sources said.

The LDP’s main handler, Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, who once challenged Abe for the party presidency, is being eyed to fill the new post of minister for revitalizing regional economies and communities, or the trade ministry.

Eto was parliamentary senior vice defense minister from 2007 to 2008 under two prime ministers, Abe and his successor, Yasuo Fukuda. When Abe returned to power in December 2012, Ishiba was assigned the same post and held it until September last year.

The new regional revitalization post, however, will not have any government agency exclusively under its jurisdiction.