• Kyodo News

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Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Thursday that Yoshito Sengoku, one of the most powerful lawmakers in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, will be rejoining the government to bolster relief efforts amid the national crisis.

Kan appointed the DPJ veteran as deputy chief Cabinet secretary, government officials said. Until January, Sengoku was chief Cabinet secretary and Kan’s right-hand man in coordinating almost all important policies.

But he was forced to leave the government after the opposition-controlled House of Councilors passed a censure motion over his handling of diplomatic issues.

Hirohisa Fujii, one of Kan’s three deputy chief Cabinet secretaries, was replaced by Sengoku and will become the prime minister’s special adviser. Kan also decided to set up a task force to assist the thousands of survivors.

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