As anticipated, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida this week reshuffled his Cabinet.

And as expected, he significantly increased the number of women in his administration. To the surprise of many, he changed his foreign and defense ministers, replacing them with new faces who nevertheless are well qualified for their posts.

The shuffle is generally considered an attempt to boost his government’s declining popularity. The 11 new faces in the 19-person Cabinet are intended to create a fresh image while the continuing presence of several key figures is a sign of continuity.