BIARRITZ, FRANCE – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday clarified his intention to reshuffle his Cabinet and the leadership team of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party in September.
“I want to create powerful lineups for realizing stability and taking on challenges,” he said at a news conference held in Biarritz, southwestern France, after the end of the three-day Group of Seven summit.
On members of the new Cabinet and the LDP team, Abe, also president of the party, said, “We must attach importance to the continuation of politics and stability.”
At the same time, he said, “It’s also important for the Cabinet to have new members and have them play active roles,” indicating his plan to appoint many first-timers to the Cabinet.
Abe emphasized that his government will raise the consumption tax from 8 percent to 10 percent in October as planned, noting that the tax rate increase is necessary for maintaining trust in the country. “We’ll prepare all possible measures to prop up domestic consumption,” he also said.
On South Korea’s decision last week to scrap the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan, which allows the two Asian neighbors to share defense secrets, Abe reiterated: “Regrettably, actions undermining relations of trust between countries are continuing. First of all, we plan to ask (South Korea) to keep promises.”
Abe said that all of his G7 partners at the latest summit showed understanding and support for the need to resolve the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago.
On Russia’s possible return to the forum of world powers, Abe said that he hopes to continue discussions with other G7 leaders so that dialogue between the G7 and Moscow will be resumed. Russia was forced out of the summit framework following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.