• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering reshuffling the Cabinet in August or later, rather than in late June when the Diet will close for the summer, according to senior lawmakers.

Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga are likely to survive the reshuffle, as is Shigeru Ishiba, secretary general of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, the lawmakers said Monday.

Abe initially planned to hold the first reshuffle of his current team immediately after the Diet closes on June 22. But he appears to have abandoned that idea in order to concentrate on some of his more contentious policy goals, such as his bid to legalize collective self-defense.

In late August, his ministers will nearly be finished with the government’s initial work on compiling the fiscal 2015 budget, one of the lawmakers said. But under that scenario, the new ministers won’t have much time to prepare for Diet deliberations, which are likely to resume in October when an extraordinary session is called.

Abe’s Cabinet will continue to deal with his rocky agenda, including his overhaul of defense policy, improving strained relations with China and South Korea, and keeping the economy on track for growth in spite of recent and future consumption tax hikes.

Abe is facing growing calls from his LDP for a Cabinet reshuffle to ease frustration among senior lawmakers eager to be picked for a seat at the table. Cabinet reshuffles are normally linked with changes in management at the LDP.

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