Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Wednesday named new lawmaker Satsuki Katayama as parliamentary secretary to the trade minister among his appointments of 22 senior vice ministers and 26 parliamentary secretaries.
The appointment of the 46-year-old Katayama, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat, follows the only other appointment of a newcomer — Kuniko Inoguchi, 53, a former ambassador to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament and a professor at Sophia University, who was given the post of state minister in charge of gender equality.
The female lawmakers are two of the so-called Koizumi children, who were picked by the prime minister to run in the Sept. 11 general election to help him press ahead with his reform drive.
No other first-term Lower House members have been appointed to ministerial, senior vice ministerial and parliamentary secretarial posts.
The media called Katayama one of Koizumi’s election “assassins,” positioned to run against Liberal Democratic Party rebels who had voted against Koizumi’s postal privatization bills in the House of Representatives in July and had run as independents in the snap election, called after the bills were defeated in the House of Councilors.
Katayama beat Minoru Kiuchi, one of the rebels who was urged to leave the LDP last month, by a slim margin of 748 votes in the hotly contested Shizuoka No. 7 district.
Besides Katayama, 25 other lawmakers were appointed as parliamentary secretaries, and 22 others were appointed as senior vice ministers. Of them, five parliamentary secretaries and three senior vice ministers were reappointed.
The senior vice foreign minister posts went to two LDP lawmakers — Lower House member Yasuhisa Shiozaki, 54, and Upper House member Katsutoshi Kaneda, 56.
The two No. 2 Finance Ministry posts were given to Kazuyoshi Akaba, 47, of New Komeito, and Naokazu Takemoto, 64, of the LDP.
Outspoken Lower House LDP lawmaker Taro Kono, 42, son of the chamber’s speaker, Yohei Kono, was appointed senior vice justice minister.
Of the 22 senior vice ministers, 18 were from the LDP and four others came from its junior coalition partner, New Komeito. Seventeen of them are Lower House members and five others are from the Upper House.
Twenty-four parliamentary secretaries were chosen from the LDP.
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