Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshapes his government to stem political decline

Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshapes his government to stem political decline

The exclusion of former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida sparks speculation about his future as an alternative to the Japanese leader

Popular endorsement of Abe, in free fall by a scandal of cronyism

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today announced a sweeping reshuffling of his government in an attempt to curb the dramatic political decline it has suffered in recent weeks in which it has been embroiled in an endless stream of scandals.

According to local experts, the main surprise was the replacement of Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who also provisionally occupied the defense portfolio after Tomomi Inada’s resignation last week. Responsible for this department since Abe took over the government again in 2012, Kishida had become one of the key elements of the executive and a firm candidate for the succession of the head of government himself.

The daily Asahi Shimbun said Abe was trying to keep his rival as a minister to prevent it from becoming a clear alternative to his leadership in the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), where Kishida will now hold a key position. “Normally, people who aim for leadership do not hold office in the Cabinet.

By staying out, Kishida can start the challenge. Most likely, Kishida resisted when Abe asked him to remain in the government, “said Tsuneo Watanabe, an analyst at Tokyo’s Sasakawa Peace Foundation quoted by Bloomberg.

Although the Japanese opposition has failed to establish an alternative candidate for the PLD despite Abe’s popularity meltdown in the polls, the main danger for the continuity of the leader is the presidential elections of his party to be held in September 2018.

Fumio Kishida prepares for the relief

Kishida, 60, holds a long political career spanning more than two decades, and leads a faction within the LDP known for less conservative positions than Abe had. The former minister opposes modifying the pacifist constitution – one of the Prime Minister’s main goals – and has not hesitated to criticize his economic guidelines.

“Our economy, finance and social security are all based on the principle of growth of our population and economy. It is an assumption that is crumbling and we are facing a crisis of sustainability,” he said last July.

Kishida himself tacitly admitted in April that he was preparing for Abe’s future reprieve and said: “Despite how wonderful the leadership of Prime Minister Abe, his era will have an end and we have to think from now on what we are going to do”.

During his term as Foreign Minister, Kishida got former President Barack Obama to attend an emotional reconciliation ceremony in his hometown of Hiroshima and sign an agreement with South Korea on so-called “comfort women,” sex slaves Used by the Japanese army during World War II, a treaty that is now in question following the arrival of new South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

Popular support falls to 30%

As the new chairman of the PLD Policy Research Council, Kishida will act as coordinator of the parliamentary bloc’s action. Taro Kono, a 54-year-old former Minister of Administrative Reform, will replace Kishida in Foreign Affairs. Apart from the latter, Abe will keep key elements of his Cabinet such as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko, or Cabinet Chief Yoshihide Suga.

The former Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera, will return to that position amid the controversy generated by the action of his predecessor, accused of covering up with the military leadership the risks that had to face the mission of

Japanese helmets in South Sudan.

Of the 19 government posts, Abe chose 13 veterans with ministerial experience and only admitted five “newcomers,” which according to the initial analyzes could have little effect in curbing their decline in polls. The government’s popular backing has fallen to around 30% – according to the latest polls – which puts Abe at his worst since returning to lead the executive in 2012.

What do you think?

Written by Geekybar

Linguist-translator by education. I have been working in the field of advertising journalism for over 10 years.

For over 7 years in journalism. Half of them are as editor. My weakness is doing mini-investigations on new topics.


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