In the wake of his reinstatement Tuesday as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party for another three-year term, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to reshuffle his Cabinet and LDP executive posts possibly in early October as part of efforts to push forward his economic policies, according to LDP lawmakers.
“With ‘Abenomics’ being halfway along the road, I would like to fulfill my responsibility by producing results,” Abe, 60, told reporters after retaining the top party post in the absence of other candidates for an LDP presidential election that had been set for Sept. 20.
In a list of policy priorities announced the same day, Abe vowed to put his highest emphasis on the economy toward the goal of getting Japan out of deflation and ensuring robust growth. He also vowed to deepen public debate on revising the Constitution.
The envisioned Cabinet reshuffle, meanwhile, is intended to bolster the public’s support for Abe’s Cabinet, given that a House of Councilors election next summer is in sight, the lawmakers said.
Abe also hopes to cushion a possible fall in support rates for the Cabinet after the LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, appear set to pass unpopular national security bills next week, they said.
Abe vowed to make the economic recovery felt across the country, promote the revitalization of regions and accelerate reconstruction of areas hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
Dubbed Abenomics, the prime minister’s economic policies feature aggressive monetary easing, hefty fiscal spending and a growth strategy.
Economic revitalization measures may include compilation of a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year amid concern over the slowdown of the Chinese economy and a cut in the effective corporate tax rate to the 20 percent level in an effort to lure more investment from abroad.
Abe retained the LDP presidency, whose current term expires on Sept. 30, as potential rival and senior LDP lawmaker Seiko Noda did not file candidacy Tuesday — the date of the party’s announcement of the holding of the election.
Noda, 55, a former chairwoman of the LDP General Council, failed to muster the support of 20 party lawmakers required to run in the race to challenge Abe.
Abe’s reinstatement as the LDP chief reflected the broad support he enjoys within the ruling party after winning three parliamentary elections under his second leadership.
Abe had secured support from all seven LDP factions, while Noda does not belong to any faction.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Noda declined to say how many party lawmakers had backed her candidacy, but said, “I wanted to realize a presidential election where candidates can discuss issues freely and frankly.”
Noda had opposed Abe being re-elected without a challenge, saying a vote would lead to political stability in the LDP.
Ruling camp and opposition lawmakers said a challenge by Noda could have hampered Upper House debate on the contentious security bills.
Despite objections from opposition parties, the LDP-Komeito coalition, which controls a majority in both chambers of the Diet, plans to pass the national security bills at an Upper House special committee Sept. 16 and get them passed at an upper chamber plenary session possibly later that day.
The bills cleared the House of Representatives on July 16.
Abe previously served as LDP president in 2006 and 2007 when he first held office as prime minister. He was elected LDP president for the second time in September 2012. A president cannot assume a third term in a row.
Under Abe’s second leadership, the LDP has won two Lower House elections and one Upper House election. Its landslide victory in the December 2012 Lower House election brought the party back to power.