• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet on Friday approved a new lineup of state ministers and parliamentary vice ministers, retaining those overseeing diplomacy and defense in the face of regional security challenges.

In Japan, government offices each have between one and three state ministers, and parliamentary vice ministers serve under each minister.

The announcement of 25 senior vice ministers and 27 parliamentary vice ministers follows Wednesday’s Cabinet reshuffle that also highlighted the administration’s resolve to put the economy back on a stable footing.

Japan has been facing security challenges in the region including a series of provocative acts by North Korea in its efforts to develop nuclear and missile technology as well as China’s growing maritime assertiveness.

Kenji Wakamiya has been retained as state defense minister. The 54-year-old member of the House of Representatives is tasked with assisting Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, who was appointed to the post in Wednesday’s reshuffle.

For state foreign minister, Abe kept in place Nobuo Kishi, his younger brother, who has a seat in the Lower House.

Abe’s pick of Kishi, 57, comes as Tokyo prepares for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expected visit to Japan before the end of the year. The two countries are negotiating to conclude a post-World War II peace treaty that has been stalled because of a territorial dispute.

From Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Abe has picked deputy party leader Noriko Furuya, 60, as state welfare minister, the only female state minister in the lineup. Komeito’s Yosuke Takagi, 56, has been retained as state trade and industry minister.

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