• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to offer his close aides key posts in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming reshuffles of his party leadership and Cabinet, according to government sources.

Abe plans to appoint former economy minister Akira Amari as head of the LDP’s Election Strategy Committee and tap Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato as chairman of the party’s General Council chairman on Tuesday, the sources said Monday.

The two posts are among the four most important positions in the party. As for the two other posts, Abe will reappoint Toshihiro Nikai and Fumio Kishida as secretary-general and policy chief.

As part of his efforts to promote his cherished goal of amending the pacifist Constitution, Abe is considering naming former education minister Hakubun Shimomura, who has long maintained close ties with him, as head of the party’s panel promoting the initiative, the sources said.

Abe’s overhaul of the party’s executives and his Cabinet comes after he was re-elected as LDP leader Sept. 20.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, called Monday on Abe to retain land minister Keiichi Ishii during a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Speaking to reporters, Yamaguchi quoted Abe as saying he will “consider” the request. As the only Cabinet minister from Komeito, Ishii has served as land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister since October 2015.

Among others to join the new Cabinet, Masahiko Shibayama, who serves as a special advisor to the party’s president, is likely to take up a ministerial position, the sources said.

Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as finance minister, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will also be reappointed.

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