Japanese Prime Minister Kishida to reshuffle his cabinet as COVID and Taiwan take center stage

FILE PHOTO – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses the United Nations General Assembly during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York City, New York, U.S. August 1 2022. REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado

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TOKYO, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will reshuffle his cabinet next week to deal with growing issues including the coronavirus, inflation, Taiwan affairs and economic stimulus, he said. Saturday.

“We need to start new training as soon as possible considering the different issues,” he told a news conference in Hiroshima after attending a commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bombing in the city. Read more

Kishida gave no details of his cabinet changes, but the Yomiuri daily reported earlier that he is likely to replace Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, given his health issues, in the reshuffle scheduled for Wednesday.

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Defense is in the spotlight with rising tensions between autonomous Taiwan and mainland China in recent days. Read more

A recent surge of COVID to a record number of infections poses another problem for the government. Read more

A reorganization of cabinet and ruling party officials was scheduled for early September, after a memorial service for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was shot last month, but Kishida brought it forward to cope with falling the cabinet’s approval in the polls, the Yomiuri said.

The reshuffle comes after Kishida’s conservative coalition government increased its majority in the upper house of parliament in a July election held two days after Abe’s death. Read more

Kishi, 63, the younger brother of the late Abe, has served as defense minister since September 2020.

The Jiji news agency reported on Friday that Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki would be retained and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda would either be retained or moved to another important post.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, as well as ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Vice Chairman Taro Aso and General Secretary Toshimitsu Motegi would also retain their posts, it also reported. the Yomiuri.

During the press conference, Kishida was also asked about the Unification Church, a religious group to which the mother of the man who shot Abe belonged, and which allegedly had particularly close ties to the faction. ‘Abe of the LDP. Read more

Kishida said he would direct the cabinet to review all links between the church and cabinet members, including deputy ministers.

“As far as I know, I personally have no connection with the band,” he said.

In a July 30-31 poll by the Kyodo News Agency, more than 80 percent of respondents said the relationship between the Unification Church and politicians should be exposed, and 53 percent expressed their opposition to a state funeral for Abe. Read more

Kishida said it was appropriate for the government to hold a state funeral given that Abe was modern Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and given the circumstances of his death during “the very foundation of democracy”, referring to the election campaign.

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Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Leslie Adler, Robert Birsel

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