Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will reshuffle his Cabinet on Aug. 3, a day after he will unveil new economic measures that he says are needed to fight deflation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Friday.
“I will further accelerate Abenomics policies with a new lineup” of the Cabinet, Abe was quoted as saying by Suga during a daily press briefing.
“I’d like to strongly promote various measures to fulfill the mandate given by the Upper House election” win on July 10, Abe told Friday’s meeting of Cabinet ministers, according to Suga.
Suga, Abe’s right-hand man, also said that the prime minister will not accept recommendations for Cabinet positions from intraparty factions of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Prime ministers of the ruling party often reshuffle the Cabinet to provide openings for LDP lawmakers eager to win a prestigious Cabinet post.
Until the 1990s, any LDP Lower House member who won at least five elections and Upper House members who won at least three were automatically appointed to the Cabinet, regardless of their ability or specialty.
According to media reports, more than 70 LDP Diet members now meet this unwritten rule, yet since Abe took power in December 2012 he has tapped close allies and friends to be Cabinet ministers, leading to rising frustrations among other LDP members.
LDP prime ministers used to choose Cabinet ministers from a short list submitted by the heads of LDP intraparty factions.
But Abe has ignored this tradition as the power of LDP factions has considerably weakened in recent years due to tighter controls on political funding and electoral reforms carried out in the mid-1990s.
In the upcoming Cabinet reshuffle on Aug. 3, Abe is expected to retain Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, the main pillars of his Cabinet.
Whether Abe will retain LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki in his post is another focus of public attention because LDP executives are often changed when a LDP prime minister reshuffles their Cabinet.
Tanigaki fell while riding a bicycle recently and underwent surgery for a spinal injury.
If he is unable to continue serving as the LDP’s No. 2, Abe will need to find an alternative, affecting his selections for the Cabinet lineup.
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