TOKYO, JAPAN - Japan's embattled Prime Minister Taro Aso on Wednesday named Yoshimasa Hayashi as the new state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, the top government spokesman said.
"As the state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, upper house member Yoshimasa Hayashi was appointed," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a press conference.
Hayashi, 48, last year served as defence minister for the final two months of the cabinet under former prime minister Yasuo Fukuda, Aso's predecessor.
He is a Harvard educated former businessman who once worked as an assistant for US lawmakers in Washington before he was elected to the Japanese parliament in 1995.
Kawamura also said lower house lawmaker Motoo Hayashi will become the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and the minister in charge of disaster management.
The appointments, effective Thursday, came as Aso is struggling to improve his sagging popularity ahead of elections which he has to call by September. --AFP