Next Japan PM Kishida to name Suzuki finance chief, retain foreign minister – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Next Japan PM Kishida to name Suzuki finance chief, retain foreign minister

Written by on October 1, 2021

Fumio Kishida, the new president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, plans to appoint senior LDP lawmaker Shunichi Suzuki as finance minister and retain Toshimitsu Motegi as foreign minister when he is elected prime minister next week, party sources said Friday.

Kishida also plans to tap Daishiro Yamagiwa, 53, acting chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, as minister of economy, trade and industry, the sources said.

Combined photo shows Shunichi Suzuki (L) and Toshimitsu Motegi. (Kyodo)

Kishida, who won the LDP presidential election Wednesday, will be elected the new prime minister in an extraordinary Diet session Monday, as the LDP-led coalition holds majority in both chambers of parliament.

Suzuki, 68, a former environment minister, will replace Taro Aso, 81, who took the post of the LDP vice president in a reshuffle of party executives. It will be the first change at the head of the Finance Ministry in eight years and 10 months.

Motegi, 65, will keep the position he has held since September 2019.

Kishida is set to name former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno, 59, as chief Cabinet secretary, replacing Katsunobu Kato.

The chief Cabinet secretary’s role includes being the government’s top spokesperson.

Kishida, meanwhile, unveiled an LDP executive lineup that will be tasked with buoying public support ahead of next month’s general election.

Fumio Kishida (C), the newly elected leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, meets the press at the party headquarters in Tokyo on Oct. 1, 2021. He is set to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga next week. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Many key party posts were filled with close allies of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a staunch conservative who continues to wield influence within the LDP, including Secretary General Akira Amari, 72, and policy chief Sanae Takaichi, 60.

Amari replaces Toshihiro Nikai who is known for exercising power behind the scenes during his record five-year tenure.

A veteran lawmaker who has held a number of Cabinet positions, Amari as economic and fiscal policy minister from December 2012 was responsible for promoting the “Abenomics” policy mix but resigned in January 2016 amid graft allegations.

Opposition parties said Friday they will launch a team to reinvestigate the allegations that Amari and his secretary accepted upwards of 14 million yen ($126,000) from a construction firm.

Keiichi Ishii, secretary general of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, said at a press conference he looks forward to working with his new counterpart to win the general election, which is expected to be held in early to mid-November.

Kishida was elected LDP president on Wednesday and is all but guaranteed to be installed as the new prime minister when parliament convenes for an extraordinary session on Monday, given the ruling coalition controls both chambers.

Amari is part of the so-called 3As, a trio of LDP heavyweights also including Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso, who was named the LDP’s vice president.

Takaichi, a former internal affairs minister who lost the LDP leadership vote in her bid to become Japan’s first female prime minister, also has close ties with Abe, holding similar conservatives views.

Toshiaki Endo, 71, a former minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, was named head of the Election Strategy Committee.

Vaccination minister Taro Kono, 58, who went to a runoff against Kishida, was appointed head of the party’s Public Relations Headquarters.

Tatsuo Fukuda, 54, a relative greenhorn serving only his third term in the House of Representatives, is set to become chairman of the General Council, the LDP’s decision-making organ.

Both Fukuda’s father and grandfather are former prime ministers, Yasuo Fukuda and the late Takeo Fukuda.

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