• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday reshuffled his senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries by appointing more women, his brother and the son of his flamboyant predecessor to senior government posts.

His Cabinet, however, was not affected by the reshuffle.

The move follows Abe’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly last week in which he vowed to promote the advancement of women. Japan is perceived as far behind its peers in promoting women.

The Cabinet approved a new list of 25 senior vice ministers and a new list of 27 parliamentary secretaries at an extraordinary meeting. Some were retained after being appointed last December, when Abe took office for the second time after a brief stint as leader from 2006 to 2007.

Among senior vice ministers, the number of women rose to four from one. They were given posts in charge of internal affairs, education, welfare and industry.

Among the men, Nobuo Kishi — Abe’s younger brother and a member of his Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Representatives — was elevated to senior vice foreign minister.

Government offices usually have one to three senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries under each minister.

Abe’s choices for the parliamentary secretaries, which are usually younger lawmakers, included Shinjiro Koizumi, son of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Koizumi, a 32-year-old representative in the Lower House, assumed a post in the Cabinet Office dealing with Tohoku’s reconstruction from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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