In reshuffling his Cabinet and the executive lineup of the Liberal Democratic Party, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have placed priority on the stability of his administration and the factional balance of power within the LDP. What policy agenda Abe and his new team will spend the administration’s rich political resources on in the remaining two years of his supposedly final term as LDP chief remains the question.

In the reshuffle that followed the victory of the LDP-Komeito ruling alliance in the Upper House election in July, 17 of 19 Cabinet ministers were replaced, and 13 of the new members were given their first Cabinet portfolios. But three key figures in the administration were reappointed to their posts. Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga retained the positions they have occupied since Abe took power in late 2012, while Toshihiro Nikai remained LDP secretary-general — the powerful party post he has held since 2016.

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