" The previous cabinet was announced in December 2012 and remained unchanged for about 20 months, creating a record for a post-war prime minister."
Tokyo, Sep 3 - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wdnesday announced a new cabinet, bringing in 12 new faces and five female ministers in an 18-member line-up.

Media reported that the cabinet reshuffle, along with the executive lineup change within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was aimed at forging LDP's long-term rules based on a more solid party.

Shigeru Ishiba, who was replaced by Sadakazu Tanigaki as LDP's secretary general early Wednesday, was appointed as minister in charge of boosting regional economy, a post newly created in the cabinet reshuffle, Xinhua reported.

Ishiba's appointment was highlighted by local media as the former effective number two figure in the LDP is seen as a key rival to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also heads the LDP, in any future party leadership race.

Abe's move to enroll Ishiba in the new cabinet line-up was read by analysts here to weaken the potential competitor and Ishiba's agreement to join in the cabinet was to avoid a factional conflict within the ruling party, according to the media reports.

Sanae Takaichi, former LDP policy chief, replaced Yoshitaka Shindo as internal affairs and communication minister.

Akinori Eto, 58, replaced Itsunori Onodera as defence minister and doubled the newly created ministerial post of security legislation.

Yasuhisa Shiozaki and Koya Nishikawa were assigned as health, labour and welfare minister and agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, respectively, while Yuko Obuchi and Midori Matsushima were named as economy, trade and industry minister and justice minister, respectively.

Eriko Yamatani was named as state minister in charge of abduction issue and Yoshio Mochizuki as environment minister, while Shunichi Yamaguchi was appointed as state minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs and he also doubled as state minister for science and technology policy.

Haruko Arimura was appointed as minister in charge of mobilising women's workforce and Wataru Takeshita was named as state minister for disaster reconstruction.

Vice Prime Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as financial minister, Chief Cabinet Secreatry Yoshihide Suga, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura remained in their posts.

State Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari, who is also in charge of affairs related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Akihiro Ota also retained their posts.

The previous cabinet was announced in December 2012 and remained unchanged for about 20 months, creating a record for a post-war prime minister.

The Support rate for the previous cabinet dropped to around 50 percent recently from a peak of over 70 percent due to the passing of the Special Secrecy Bill and approval of Japan's Self-Defence Forces to exercise rights to collective self-defence, as well as sales tax hike announced in April this year.


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