Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday, tapping a nationalist as defense minister, a choice that may stoke controversy both at home and abroad, while retaining most of his other key ministers.

Tomomi Inada, former policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is an enthusiastic supporter of Tokyo's war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, which she has repeatedly visited.

The shrine, which honors Japan's war dead — including World War II Class-A war criminals — is often regarded as a symbol of the country's militarism of the 1930s and 1940s. Politicians visiting the shrine have sparked anger in neighboring countries that were victims of Japanese aggression.