Newly appointed Foreign Minister Taro Kono is known as an outspoken, reform-minded politician unafraid of questioning the party line.

Like Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Kono is a political blue blood. His father, Yohei, also served as foreign minister, and is known for a landmark 1993 apology he issued as chief Cabinet secretary for the suffering inflicted upon women forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels before and during World War II.

Educated at Georgetown University, Kono is a fluent English speaker and is considered to have strong ties to Washington. While in the U.S. capital, he worked for Richard Shelby, a Republican senator from Alabama who at the time was a Democratic congressman.