Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet with Shigeru Ishiba to discuss what position the current Liberal Democratic Party secretary-general should get in next Wednesday’s reshuffle of the Cabinet and LDP executive lineup, party officials said on Thursday.
Abe has asked Ishiba to assume the new post of state minister in charge of national security legislation, but the former defense minister is expected to turn down the offer during their meeting at the prime minister’s office.
Ishiba has stated that he doesn’t want his differences with Abe on security policy to provide ammunition to opposition parties.
An aide to Abe said on Wednesday that the prime minister is now considering offering him a different key Cabinet post, such as minister in charge of local revitalization, also a new post, or economy minister.
Ishiba has said he wants to retain his post in the LDP, while sources close to Abe say he is considering other people for the secretary-general post.
When they met July 24, Abe offered Ishiba the new post tasked with guiding legislation through the Diet that will legalize Japan’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense. Ishiba declined to give a clear response, party officials said.
Ishiba could run against Abe in the LDP leadership race next year. Some of Ishiba’s aides believe it would be better for him not to take a Cabinet or party post if Abe boots him from his current position.
In July, the Cabinet approved the reinterpretation of the pacifist Constitution to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of allies under armed attack.
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