Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori continued consulting top Liberal Democratic Party officials Monday evening as he tried to finalize the lineup of his new Cabinet, to be launched today.
Mori is expected to announce his new Cabinet after being re-elected prime minister by both houses of the Diet at the beginning of a special three-day session of Japan’s legislature.
Political sources said Yoriko Kawaguchi, managing director of Suntory Ltd. and a former bureaucrat of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, will be included in the new Cabinet.
A senior member of Mori’s faction confirmed that Kawaguchi, 59, would be one of the new faces. She is considered well-versed in a wide range of issues, including education, industry and labor policy.
But most of the key posts are likely to remain unchanged.
Mori is widely expected to ask Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, Management and Coordination Agency chief Kunihiro Tsuzuki to remain in their posts.
Economic Planning Agency chief Taichi Sakaiya also said earlier in the day that he has accepted Mori’s request to stay on.
“I made a difficult decision because I was asked to remain in office by many people,” said Sakaiya, a former bureaucrat who was a writer before becoming EPA chief.
No Diet extension
There will be no extension of the three-day special Diet session starting today, the ruling coalition said Monday, rejecting opposition demands that it be extended to deal with a bribery scandal and other issues.
The decision was conveyed to representatives of the four major opposition parties, who had earlier demanded that the Diet hold a special session to discuss the bribery allegations involving former Construction Minister Eiichi Nakao and the Deposit Insurance Corp’s assistance to ailing department store chain Sogo Co.
Opposition calls for Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to deliver a fresh policy speech after his scheduled re-election as prime minister today were also turned down by ruling coalition officials, who cited the tight Diet schedule before the upcoming Group of Eight summit meetings as a reason.
A special Diet session is held to appoint the new prime minister and Cabinet members after a general election.
The ruling camp — comprising the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party — suggested that the Sogo issue can be taken up after the three-day session and the LDP bribery scandal in August.
This suggestion did not satisfy the opposition.
The secretaries general of the four opposition parties pledged later in the day to persist in seeking an extension to the session to swiftly discuss the contentious issues.