National / Politics

Abe to create new ministerial post to tackle key social issues

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday a new ministerial post will be created for an initiative to better cope with pressing social issues such as a declining population and an aging society, as part of efforts to shore up Japan’s economic growth.

Abe made the announcement at a news conference to mark the end of the Diet session through Sunday, focusing on social welfare and economic issues seen as important to a public whose support for his Cabinet has plunged after last week’s enactment of controversial security legislation.

“I am thinking of a Cabinet reshuffle after I return to Japan,” said Abe, who is visiting New York and Jamaica for six days from Saturday to attend the U.N. General Assembly and hold talks with other leaders.

Abe said the new ministerial post will be established to help achieve his government’s new goal of creating a society in which every citizen realizes their potential.

The new minister will be appointed during the Cabinet reshuffle likely to take place early next month and lead relevant government agencies to draft detailed plans of the initiative to be carried out through 2020, according to a government official.

Abe said Thursday that Japan was moving to the next stage of “Abenomics,” a term referring to his economic policy mix that originally featured bold monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and growth-oriented reforms.

He unveiled new pillars of economic expansion, support for child-rearing and improved social security.

During Friday’s news conference, Abe said Japan was “only a few steps from getting out of deflation.”

The premier also defended the security bills aimed at expanding the role of the Self-Defense Forces overseas, saying the security laws were not “war legislation” as labeled by some critics but were paving the way to prevent the outbreak of wars.