Abenomics named PM's top priority

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his third Cabinet will make the economy its top priority, stressing that he will move forward with his Abenomics economic policies.

"Our biggest task is to ensure the success of Abenomics. I'll evolve it," Abe said at a press conference Wednesday following his investiture ceremony and an attestation ceremony for newly appointed ministers at the Imperial Palace.

At the first press conference after the launch of his third Cabinet, the prime minister also highlighted escaping from deflation, social security system reform, and foreign and security policy.

"The road ahead may be rocky on every issue, but I will move forward with the most drastic reforms since the end of World War II with all my strength and all my heart," he said. "There are pros and cons, and I face stiff resistance. But the Cabinet will pull together and work toward realizing the policies."

Abe appointed Gen Nakatani as defense minister in his new Cabinet to replace Akinori Eto, who is embroiled in a political funds scandal. "Mr. Eto wanted very much to resign from the post out of concern that it could cause delays in deliberations on bills [related to security legislation]," Abe said. "It was unfortunate, but I decided to respect his wishes."

Abe described Nakatani as "highly conversant" in issues related to the Self-Defense Forces.

"In addition, he has extensive knowledge and experience through his long-term involvement in security policy," said the prime minister, adding that Nakatani "has played an important role" in discussions on collective self-defense between his Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito.

Asked about the constitutional amendment, Abe said, "It has been our goal since the LDP was founded.

"It ought to be called a historic challenge. We'll try to deepen the public's understanding [of this issue]."

At the press conference, Abe also discussed ways to improve Japan-China relations.

"The international community hopes that both Japan and China will make efforts to form friendly ties," he said. "I aim to develop relations through talks at various levels."

The post of state minister for consumer affairs and food safety in Abe's third Cabinet was shifted to Shunichi Yamaguchi, state minister for Okinawa and northern territories affairs, from Haruko Arimura, state minister in charge of women's empowerment.

Three deputy chief cabinet secretaries, the director general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and five special advisers to the prime minister were all reappointed.