Japan PM-designate Suga retains key ministers

Tokyo, Sep 15(UNI) Yoshihide Suga, the new president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Prime Minister-designate of Japan, on Tuesday made in clear that he intends to continue his predecessor’s policies by keeping key Cabinet ministers and party officials in their posts, as he had promised.

After winning the party leadership race on Monday, Suga had pledged that he will carry forward many of his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s programs, including his signature Abenomics economic strategy, The Japan Times reported.

According to sources, Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will most likely stay in their positions, as will LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai. Yasutoshi Nishimura is likely to be reappointed as economy minister.

It is being speculated that Suga may name Health Minister Katsunobu Kato, as chief Cabinet secretary. Kato is close to Suga, and had served as deputy chief Cabinet secretary.

Land Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, who belongs to the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, and Olympics and Paralympics minister Seiko Hashimoto are also likely to be retained in the new Cabinet, the sources said.

Suga, who has served as chief Cabinet secretary under Abe for seven years and eight months, said on Monday that he plans to appoint someone who is “well-rounded” as his successor to a post that serves as both a policy coordinator and the government’s top spokesman.

Former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda, 60, who is a nonaligned LDP member, will also be named executive deputy secretary-general of the party to assist Nikai. She replaces former defense chief Tomomi Inada, the sole female LDP executive.

Sources also said that LDP’s leadership will also under go some reshuffling on Tuesday. In addition to retaining Nikai, he will also name former education minister Hakubun Shimomura as policy chief. Tsutomu Sato, a former minister of internal affairs and communications, is set to be appointed as chairman of the General Council while Hiroshi Moriyama will remain head of the Diet Affairs Committee, party sources said.


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