Japanese Prime Minister Kishida reshuffles cabinet to COVID, focusing on Taiwan According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida addresses the United Nations General Assembly during the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York City, New York, U.S., August 1, 2022 REUTERS / David ‘Dee’ Delgado

By Kantaro Komiya

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will reshuffle his cabinet next week to address rising issues including coronavirus, inflation, Taiwan issues and economic stimulus measures, he said on Tuesday. Seven.

“We need to form a new team as soon as possible,” he told a press conference in Hiroshima after attending the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing in the city.

Kishida did not give any details about the changes in his cabinet but the Yomiuri daily reported earlier that he is likely to replace Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, due to his health problems. , in a reshuffle scheduled for Wednesday.

Defense has been in the spotlight with tensions rising between self-ruled Taiwan and mainland China in recent days.

The recent surge of COVID to a record high number of infections poses another problem for the government.

Yomiuri said a reorganization of the cabinet and ruling party officials was scheduled for early September, following a memorial service for former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot dead last month, but Kishida had brought it up to address the cabinet’s disapproval in the polls, Yomiuri said.

The reshuffle comes after Kishida’s conservative coalition government gained a majority in the upper house in the July elections that took place two days after Abe’s death.

Kishi, 63, younger brother of the late Prime Minister Abe, has served as Defense Minister since September 2020.

Jiji news agency reported on Friday that Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki will be retained, and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda will be retained or transferred to another important post.

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

Kishida was also asked at the press conference about the Unification Church, a religious group to which the mother of the man who shot Abe belongs, and is said to have particularly close links to Abe’s LDP faction.

Kishida said he would order the cabinet to scrutinize any links between the church and cabinet members, including deputy ministers.

“As far as I know, I personally don’t have any ties to the group,” he said.

In a July 30-31 poll by Kyodo news agency, more than 80% of respondents said the relationship between the Unification Church and politicians must be disclosed, and 53% expressed disapproval. for holding a state funeral for Prime Minister Abe.

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

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