KINGSTON - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he will retain the four top executives of the Liberal Democratic Party - Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki, General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai, Policy Research Council Chairman Tomomi Inada, Election Strategy Committee Chairman Toshimitsu Motegi - as well as Vice President Masahiko Komura in the Oct. 7 reshuffle of his Cabinet and key LDP posts.
Abe has also apparently decided to retain Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi. As her ministry is responsible for the My Number system, which will be introduced from next January, Abe is believed to prefer that Takaichi remain in her post.
Speaking to reporters at a hotel in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, Abe explained his reasons for retaining the current LDP executives, saying: "Creating a society in which all 100 million Japanese nationals play active roles in society is a grand theme for my next regime. It is important to formulate and adjust policies within the party. Also, we will have a House of Councillors election [next year]."
Abe said a new ministerial post will be created in the upcoming reshuffle to handle measures to encourage all Japanese people to play active roles in society. "The person appointed to be the minister will have to have vitality to overcome difficulties, and the capability to yield results," he said.
Abe stressed, "Although I will bear in mind the appointment of women while forming the Cabinet, that does not mean I will put priority just on the numbers."
He clarified that he will not consider the balance of appointed ministers across factions, and will appoint one minister from LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito, as has always been done in the past.
As for the target period for realizing expansion of the nation's nominal gross domestic product to ¥600 trillion (S$7.1 trillion) - one of a new set of economic policies he calls the new "three arrows" - Abe said: "We aim to realise this around 2020. It will be possible to sufficiently meet the goal if the nation continues at an annual nominal growth rate of 3 per cent."
Regarding the goal of restoring the total fertility rate - the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime - to 1.8, Abe said this will be achieved in the mid-2020s.