Abe to reshuffle Cabinet

Abe to reshuffle Cabinet
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
PHOTO: The Japan News/ANN

NEW YORK - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in New York on Tuesday that he will reshuffle his Cabinet and key posts of the Liberal Democratic Party on Oct. 7.

At a press conference in a hotel, Abe said that he will maintain the basic framework of the Cabinet as he was reelected LDP president, but at the same time wants to appoint as many new members as possible.

About his future management of the administration, he reiterated his intention to place top priority on economic policies.

"I will make the personnel decisions on Oct. 7. The LDP is a treasure chest of talented people. While maintaining the main framework, I hope as many people as possible will display their abilities," Abe said.

About when he will consider the new lineups, he said: "I will spend 20 hours traveling back to Japan from Jamaica. I want to spend the time [on the plane], when there will be no phone calls for me, to consider everything thoroughly."

After his visit to the United States, Abe will visit Jamaica as the first Japanese prime minister to visit the country. He is scheduled to return to Japan on Friday evening.

Abe explained that the purpose of the reshuffle is to make "a strong lineup to encourage all Japanese nationals to play active roles in society."

He said: "I will place my top priority on economic policies and make the nation's economy stronger. With measures to assist child-rearing and improve social security, I will put the brakes on the declining birthrate and the graying of society."

Based on what has been talked about so far, Abe aims to retain key Cabinet members, including Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Fumio Kushida and Akira Amari, minister in charge of economic revitalisation.

It is likely that Defence Minister Gen Nakatani and Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki will remain in the reshuffled cabinet.

About Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan, Abe said it will be realised "at the best timing."

Ahead of the press conference, on Tuesday afternoon, Abe delivered an address at the UN General Assembly.

He said Japan will contribute about $810 million (S$1.2 billion) to aid Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and emphasised proactive contributions to the international community to cope with refugee problems.

To stabilize regions from which refugees are exiting, the prime minister disclosed that Japan was prepared to extend about $750 million in aid for education and professional training of former soldiers so that peace can be established in the Middle East and Africa.

Concerning reform of the UN Security Council, Abe said that as this year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, Japan will press for "Security Council reform in order to transform the United Nations into a body appropriate for the 21st century."

He expressed his determination for Japan to become a permanent member of the Security Council, saying Japan will "carry out its responsibilities in making still greater contributions toward world peace and prosperity.

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