Abe eyes Takaichi for economy post

Abe eyes Takaichi for economy post
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has held talks with the aim of appointing Sanae Takaichi, 53, chair of the Liberal Democratic Party's Policy Research Council, to the post of economy, trade and industry minister, and LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba, 57, to the newly created post of minister for rejuvenating provincial areas, according to sources.

Abe also plans to give a Cabinet post to Wataru Takeshita, a 67-year-old member of the House of Representatives.

Concerning the education, sports, culture, science and technology minister, Abe apparently intends to keep Hakubun Shimomura, 60, in the post after the Cabinet reshuffle.

Takaichi has served as parliamentary secretary of the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the predecessor of today's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, and then as a senior vice minister of economy, trade and industry. She therefore has expert knowledge about industrial policies.

Shimomura is a close aide of Abe. In the first Abe Cabinet, which was launched in 2006, he assisted Abe as deputy chief cabinet secretary.

In the second Abe Cabinet, Shimomura was appointed as the education minister and assisted with the passage of a revision of the Law on the Organisation and Operation of Local Education Administration. The revised law gives local government heads stronger authority on boards of education.

Shimomura has taken the initiative in education system reforms, a subject that Abe has been enthusiastic about.

On Sunday, Ishiba told reporters in Tottori: "In any kind of post, I have to strive to do what I believe is best. The prime minister has the authority to decide on personnel affairs, and we'll be firmly united in taking action."

Takeshita was recommended to the prime minister by an LDP faction led by Fukushiro Nukaga, to which he belongs. If realised, Takeshita will join the Cabinet for the first time.

On Sunday evening, Abe held talks in a hotel in Tokyo with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and two deputy chief cabinet secretaries, Katsunobu Kato and Hiroshige Seko, to discuss procedures to be taken on the day of the Cabinet reshuffle.

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