• Kyodo

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Fumio Kishida, the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and the nation's next prime minister, will tap former economy minister Akira Amari to be the ruling party's secretary-general, party sources said Thursday.

Kishida also picked former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, who lost to him in the party's presidential race Wednesday, as the LDP's new policy chief.

Taro Kono, who lost to Kishida in the runoff vote, will be the LDP's public relations head, while former Olympic minister Toshiaki Endo will become the party's election strategy chief, the sources said.

Amari, currently head of the LDP's Research Commission on the Tax System, will succeed long-serving Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, as Kishida introduces a new party executive lineup Friday. The sources said former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno will be appointed chief Cabinet secretary, the top government spokesman, when Kishida unveils his Cabinet on Monday.

Amari, who backed Kishida's campaign to lead the LDP, belongs to the party's second-largest faction, led by Finance Minister Taro Aso, while Matsuno is a member of the party's largest faction, led by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda.

Amari is close to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, under whom Kishida served as foreign minister and LDP policy chief.

Amari had promoted the Abenomics economic policy package as economic and fiscal policy minister from December 2012 but resigned in January 2016 amid graft allegations against him and his secretaries.

"I am studying various options," Kishida told reporters.

In his first news conference after being elected head of the party — and in effect now the successor to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga — Kishida said that it is important to consider the balance between young and old in deciding who will fill LDP executive positions.

He has also suggested giving other candidates in the presidential election key posts.

Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, who belongs to Kishida's faction, is also expected to be given a key post, according to the sources.

During the election campaign, Kishida vowed to introduce party reforms, including limiting the terms of LDP executives to up to three years.

Kishida is poised to become prime minister Monday in an extraordinary Diet session as the LDP-led coalition controls both chambers of the Diet.

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