Prime Minister Fumio Kishida often speaks about how his ability to listen attentively to the public is one of his strong points.

But Wednesday’s Cabinet reshuffle and Liberal Democratic Party senior leadership changes reflect a leader who appears to be listening more to intraparty concerns about factional politics and for the sound of potential rivals in the September 2024 LDP presidential race.

“The Cabinet reshuffle and party leadership changes can be characterized as Kishida's ingenuity in trying to ensure his re-election in next fall's presidential election,” said Kentaro Yamamoto, a politics professor at Hokkai-Gakuen University. "There were two key points in the (selection) process: not to make enemies within the party, and not to give a chance to a potential successor."