Prime Minister Taro Aso filled the key foreign and defense portfolios with hereditary Diet members, perhaps in the hope their prominent family names will serve the Liberal Democratic Party well in the looming Lower House election.

But the tandem of Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada will be facing imminent diplomatic issues, including winning an extension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling operations for antiterrorism efforts in the Indian Ocean.

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