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Noda adds new faces to Cabinet
Publication Date : 02-10-2012
Reshuffle aimed at continuing diplomatic and security policies
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday reshuffled his Cabinet, placing importance on the continuance of his diplomatic and security policies.
The new Cabinet is the fourth Noda has formed since he took office in September last year.
Noda retained Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto to ensure consistent diplomatic and security policies.
This was seen as necessary in light of deteriorating relations with China over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, among other issues.
Noda is believed to be also seeking to buoy his administration with the next House of Representatives election in mind by tapping high-profile former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka to the top spot at the education, sports, culture, science and technology ministry.
In the latest move, Noda replaced 10 ministers, including eight who joined the Cabinet for the first time.
Noda collected the resignations of all ministers at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting yesterday morning before confirming that he planned to maintain the coalition between his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the People's New Party (PNP), headed by Shozaburo Jimi.
Noda announced the new Cabinet members at an afternoon press conference and said the reshuffle was aimed at "strengthening Cabinet functions in collaboration with the DPJ to cope with a number of issues both at home and abroad."
The ministers of the reshuffled Cabinet attended an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace later in the day.
As a way to ensure stronger ties within the DPJ-Cabinet collaboration, Noda appointed former DPJ executive members to important posts.
Former Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Koriki Jojima became finance minister and former acting Secretary General Shinji Tarutoko assumed the post of internal affairs and communications minister. Both are first-time Cabinet members.
Seiji Maehara, former DPJ Policy Research Committee Chairman, assumed the position of state minister for national policy as well as economic and fiscal policy.
For the post of finance minister, Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada's doubling as the minister and Maehara's appointment to the post were initially considered, but Noda chose Jojima who has solid connections to the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
Jojima, who served as acting Policy Research Committee chairman, acting secretary general and Diet affairs committee chairman, is believed to have Noda's trust. Jojima was constantly involved in the three-party negotiations over the integrated reform of the social security and tax systems.
Former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi and two others who were Noda's rivals in the recent DPJ presidential election and their supporters were not appointed to posts in the government.
However, Noda is believed to be trying to prevent more DPJ members from leaving the party by appointing those party members who are not particularly close to him, including Tanaka, in the wake of the recent departure of DPJ members.
Noda is believed to have also used the appointments as rewards for supporting him in the DPJ presidential poll. Tanaka supported Noda in the presidential election.
Lower house member Keishu Tanaka, who belongs to an intraparty group of former Democratic Socialist Party members that supported Noda in the election, also joined the Cabinet for the first time as the justice minister and the state minister in charge of the abduction issue.
Tadamasa Kodaira, chairman of the lower house's Rules and Administration Committee, also became a Cabinet member for the first time, assuming the posts of chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and consumer affairs minister.
Despite belonging to an intraparty group led by former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who did not support Noda in the presidential election, Kodaira did not side with the group.
Lower house member Wakio Mitsui, who became health, labour and welfare minister, and Ikko Nakatsuka, who was promoted from senior vice minister of the Cabinet Office in charge of financial affairs to the state minister for financial services, also supported the integrated reform although they were close to former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa who left the party in opposition to the consumption tax hike, part of the reform.
Those who remained in their posts besides Gemba and Morimoto are Okada, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano, Tatsuo Hirano, state minister for reconstruction, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Yuichiro Hata and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Akira Gunji.
Yoshihiko Noda, 55
Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister for Integrated Reform of Tax and Social Security, and Administrative Reform
Katsuya Okada, 59 *
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister, State Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Shinji Tarutoko, 53
Justice Minister, State Minister for Abduction Issue
Keishu Tanaka, 74
Koichiro Gemba, 48 *
Koriki Jojima, 65
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister
Makiko Tanaka, 68
Health, labour and Welfare Minister
Wakio Mitsui, 69
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister
Akira Gunji, 62 *
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister
Yukio Edano, 48 *
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister
Yuichiro Hata, 45 *
Hiroyuki Nagahama, 53
Satoshi Morimoto, 71 *
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Osamu Fujimura, 62 *
State Minister for Disaster Reconstruction
Tatsuo Hirano, 58 *
National Public Safety Commission Chairman, State Minister for Consumer Affairs
Tadamasa Kodaira, 70
State Minister for Financial Services
Ikko Nakatsuka, 47
State Minister for National Policy, and Economic and Fiscal Policy
Seiji Maehara, 50
State Minister for Postal Reform, and Disaster Management
Mikio Shimoji, 51