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The mini-reshuffle of the Cabinet this week shows that Prime Minister Taro Aso’s power to lead his Liberal Democratic Party in a direction he desires has dwindled. He had sought a substantial reshuffle of both the Cabinet and the party leadership to buoy his administration’s sagging approval rate. But resistance from within the LDP left him leeway only to fill two Cabinet posts concurrently held by other ministers.

Mr. Aso picked two LDP legislators to fill the posts of fiscal and economic policy minister and chairman of the National Public Safety Commission. This decision has lightened the load of Mr. Kaoru Yosano, who has played a triple role as finance minister, financial services minister and fiscal and economic policy minister, and the load of internal affairs minister Tsutomu Sato, who has doubled as NPSC chairman.

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