• JIJI, Kyodo

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Having been handed the defense portfolio in the Sept. 11 Cabinet reshuffle, Defense Minister Taro Kono is now under a spotlight as observers watch for him to prove his credentials as a potential successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Formerly foreign minister, Kono is now charged with handling many difficult issues that face the Abe administration — including the matter of military bases in Okinawa Prefecture and the deployment of the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system to planned sites in the prefectures of Akita and Yamaguchi.

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