Japanese PM reshuffles cabinet, ruling party leadership

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reshuffled his cabinet and the executive lineup of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as the administration faces slipping public support.

According to the lineup, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno remained in their posts, as Kishida aims to ensure continuity in the face of pressing economic and diplomatic issues, reports Xinhua news agency.

LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi and the party’s Vice President Taro Aso also retained their posts.

Former Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada replaced Nobuo Kishi and took over portfolio again.

The new cabinet also includes LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi as economic security minister.

The party’s PR chief Taro Kono was named digitization minister.

Kishida appointed industry minister Koichi Hagiuda with the key post of LDP policy chief, and gave the industry minister job to Yasutoshi Nishimura, a former economic revitalization minister who was in charge of the government’s Covid-19 response.

Wednesday’s development came over a week after a nationwide Kyodo News survey revealed that the approval rating for Kishida administration stood at its lowest since it came to power in October 2021.

According to the survey published on August 1, approval rating for the cabinet decreased to the lowest-ever 51.0 per cent compared to a record high of 63.2 per cent just weeks ago.

Among the surveyed, 53.3 per cent said they are opposed to the state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe, while 61.9 per cent said it is necessary to hold a parliamentary debate on the state funeral.

The sharp decline came following the Kishida cabinet’s best-ever support in the wake of the ruling coalition parties’ victory in the House of Councillors election on July 10 and Abe’s death after being fatally shot during a July 8 campaign stump speech.

However, the government’s decision to hold a state funeral for Abe drew strong criticism from the opposition and the public who said there are no legal provisions for holding such a funeral.

The country’s resurgence of Covid-19 infections and surging commodity prices which led to rising living costs also contributed to the decline in Kishida cabinet’s support rate.

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