The Cabinet approved on Tuesday the appointment of the deputy head of editorial writing at Kyodo News as a special adviser to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, an unprecedented decision for a role that is typically reserved for high-ranking bureaucrats or politicians.

Meiji Kakizaki, 59, has been a reporter since 1984 and joined the Kyodo News wire service in 1988. Born in Akita Prefecture, from which Suga also hails, he has never held public office before. The two have known each other for more than 20 years, since Suga became a Lower House lawmaker.

The appointment, which puts the journalist in charge of policy evaluation and will be effective Thursday, could be a reflection of the prime minister’s desire to sway media narratives in favor of the administration — something to which he has devoted almost eight years as chief Cabinet secretary, fending off questions from the press in daily briefings.