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Japan’s PM set to bring telegenic son of popular ex-PM into cabinet

Published: September 10, 2019 19:18:59 | Updated: September 10, 2019 20:20:22


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will draft the son of former premier Junichiro Koizumi into his cabinet and keep allies in key posts in a reshuffle on Wednesday, media reported, as Abe readies a tax rise and aims to revise the pacifist constitution, reports Reuters.

Abe, poised to become Japan’s longest-serving premier in November, will pick telegenic Shinjiro Koizumi, 38, whom surveys show voters favor as their next leader, NHK public television reported. The younger Koizumi will be named as environmental minister, NHK said.

The appointment could give a popularity boost to the new cabinet line-up. Cabinet posts will be announced on Wednesday after the current cabinet resigns and officials have not commented on media reports about possible appointments.

The younger Koizumi, known as Shinjiro to distinguish him from his father, grabbed headlines last month with news that he would marry Christel Takigawa, a French-Japanese television presenter, and they will soon have a baby.

Abe will also appoint a former Olympic speed skater, Seiko Hashimoto, as Olympics minister to prepare for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, one of two women likely to win posts, media said.

Abe is set to retain Finance Minister Taro Aso, 78, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, 70, both of whom have served in their positions since the conservative leader returned to office in 2012, promising to reboot the economy and bolster the military, political sources and media said.

Aso must help ensure the economy weathers an October increase in the sales tax to 10 per cent from 8 per cent that could dampen consumption when a US-China trade war is clouding growth.

Abe is also poised to keep veteran lawmaker Toshihiro Nikai, 80, as Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) secretary general, the party’s number two post, political sources and media said.

Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, 63, a Harvard-educated lawmaker with a reputation as a tough negotiator, will take over at the foreign ministry from Taro Kono.

But Motegi will probably stay in charge of trade talks with the United States ahead of a deadline for a deal later this month, media reported.

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