In a last-minute twist after initial reports hinted at only minor adjustments in his Cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday replaced key figures while keeping a handful of veterans and rivals in their positions and boosting the female presence in the Cabinet and ruling party executive team.

“This Cabinet is a Cabinet that gains power from change,” Kishida said at a news conference on Wednesday evening after the reshuffle, adding that he had chosen ministers with solid capabilities in three key areas — the economy, social policy, and diplomacy and security.

Among the more stunning moves was Kishida’s decision to have former Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa replace Yoshimasa Hayashi, a close ally of Kishida, as foreign minister, making Kamikawa just the third woman to hold the post of top diplomat after Makiko Tanaka and Yoriko Kawaguchi, who served under then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.