Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday reshuffled his cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) executive line-up in a bid to restore the public’s faith in the scandal-hit government.
Taro Kono, former minister in charge of administrative reform, took over the Foreign Minister’s portfolio from Fumio Kishida, reports Xinhua news agency.
Kishida, widely believed to be a front-runner to take charge of the ruling party in the future, will henceforth chair the party’s Policy Research Council.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga retained his position as well as and Finance Minister Taro Aso.
Following the abrupt resignation of Defence Minister Tomomi Inada over concealing a coverup scandal, House of Representatives member Itsunori Onodera, has been handed the portfolio in a repeat of the role he held between 2012 and 2014.
The new cabinet comprises 13 members who have either served in the former cabinet or had previous experience in ministerial positions, and sees six new faces, with the revamped lineup aimed at restoring public trust.
The reshuffle comes at a time when public approval ratings have sunk to their lowest since Abe retook office in 2012.
The LDP leadership and the cabinet had sparked widespread public mistrust according to a number of media polls, partly due to an influencing-peddling scandal alleging the prime minister used his position to ensure the construction of new veterinary school to be run by his friend in a special deregulated zone.
The reshuffle follows the resignation of the outgoing cabinet following a cabinet meeting held in Prime Minister’s Official Residence earlier Friday.
The new cabinet will be formally inaugurated at a ceremony at the Imperial Palace later in the day.