Kishida Decides to Reshuffle Cabinet on Wed.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Tokyo, Sept. 8 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has decided to reshuffle his cabinet and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership team on Wednesday, it was learned on Friday.

Kishida has informed senior officials of the LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, of the decision, according to informed sources.

Speaking to reporters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi revealed that he received a phone call from Kishida, who is visiting India, and was told that the prime minister is preparing to carry out a cabinet and LDP leadership reshuffle on Wednesday.

In the reshuffle, Kishida is expected to offer key posts to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who are members of the collective leadership board of the largest faction within the LDP.

While keeping Matsuno, Nishimura and other key figures, Kishida is considering making some drastic changes to the cabinet and LDP leadership lineup to create a sense of renewal, the sources said.

Kishida is also likely to appoint Koichi Hagiuda, currently chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council and a senior member of the largest LDP faction, to a key post, while retaining LDP Vice President Taro Aso, who heads the second-largest faction, and LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi, who leads the third-largest faction, in their current posts.

The prime minister is apparently seeking to gather support from LDP bigwigs so that he can run the government in a stable manner and win the next LDP leadership election, slated for autumn next year.

Within the LDP, some are calling for Hagiuda or Nishimura to become chief cabinet secretary.

As the approval rate for the Kishida cabinet has been sluggish in recent public opinion polls, Kishida may appoint young and female lawmakers to produce a sense of freshness.

Kishida was initially expected to reshuffle the cabinet and the LDP leadership team in the third week of this month after returning from India or in the last week after returning from a U.S. trip.

Kishida is believed to have opted for the former option, fearing that a delayed reshuffle could spark political jockeying within the LDP.

Meanwhile, there were moves to bring the Democratic Party for the People into the ruling coalition, but this is now seen as difficult to realize for the time being.

After returning home, Kishida will meet with LDP Secretary-General Motegi and Komeito leader Yamaguchi as early as Monday.