Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday picked 22 ruling party lawmakers as senior vice ministers amid some frustration within the Democratic Party of Japan over his choices last week for the reshuffled Cabinet.
Kan did not appoint any lawmaker belonging to the intraparty group headed by Ichiro Ozawa to ministerial positions.
But this time Kan appointed DPJ lawmakers who have close ties with Ozawa as either senior vice ministers or parliamentary secretaries, the No. 3 ministerial posts.
They include Katsumasa Suzuki, who was named as a senior vice minister for internal affairs and communications, Takeaki Matsumoto, appointed as one of the second-ranking representatives of the Foreign Ministry, and Takeshi Hidaka, a former aide of Ozawa, who was chosen as the Environment Ministry’s parliamentary secretary.
“We put the right people in the right job,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said at a news conference, adding that Kan and DPJ executives did not take into account “at all” whether candidates were close to Ozawa in choosing who to give Cabinet posts.
Tuesday’s appointments were officially approved at a Cabinet meeting in the morning.
Prior to the Sept. 14 DPJ leadership election won by Kan, he and Ozawa agreed to enhance party unity regardless of which of them became DPJ leader and thus prime minister.
Last Friday, however, many of the ministerial posts and key jobs in the DPJ were given to those known to be critical of Ozawa, which has caused some frustration among party lawmakers who cast their ballots for the power broker.
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