Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe told his party’s Upper House caucus chief Friday that he will allocate two posts when he forms his first Cabinet next week to members of the House of Councilors, keeping the same number as his predecessor, a senior LDP lawmaker said Friday.
Abe will finalize his party leadership lineup Monday afternoon, just before the Diet is expected to appoint him prime minister on Tuesday, the unidentified lawmaker said.
The request to include two Upper House LDP members in the Cabinet was made by caucus leader Mikio Aoki.
“The Upper House is not a faction,” Abe told reporters after meeting with Aoki.
Abe has stated clearly that he will not distribute Cabinet posts based on factions.
Aoki did not mention specific names to Abe, but the LDP Upper House leadership plans to nominate Masatoshi Wakabayashi, head of the LDP Policy Deliberation Commission, and Kensei Mizote, who chairs the Upper House steering committee. Whether that will be reflected in Abe’s final decision remains uncertain.
Abe and Aoki also exchanged opinions regarding the choice of candidates for the Upper House election next July.
Abe’s recent remarks that he may change candidates already selected by the caucus has stirred criticism from Upper House LDP members, but Aoki told reporters after the meeting they “agreed to cooperate on the Upper House election.”
Abe was elected LDP president Wednesday, succeeding Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Given the LDP’s majority in the Lower House, he is expected to be picked the new prime minister on Tuesday, becoming Japan’s youngest postwar prime minister and the first born after World War II.
His Cabinet and party leadership lineup is a major focus of attention. Given his relatively young age and with only 13 years of experience in the Diet, political observers believe he will likely come up with a combination of members considering factional and age balance.
Koizumi, known for breaking LDP tradition with his “surprise” Cabinet lineups decided on his own, told Abe Friday morning in an informal Cabinet gathering, “As new party president, please take your time this weekend to work out the personnel plan.”
Abe will seclude himself in a villa near Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture from Friday evening through Sunday for contemplation.
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