Japan PM Shinzo Abe to unveil new Cabinet following election win

Japanese Prime Minister and President of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe gestures as he answers questions during a press conference at the headquarters of the LDP in Tokyo on Dec 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Japanese Prime Minister and President of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe gestures as he answers questions during a press conference at the headquarters of the LDP in Tokyo on Dec 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to roll out a new Cabinet on Wednesday comprising mostly familiar faces as he seeks to deliver on long-promised growth strategies to rescue the economy from the shackles of deflation.

He told an advisory panel earlier this week his government must tackle economic revitalization and fiscal reconstruction "with unwavering resolve".

"I think the people want us to implement policies steadily to create a virtuous economic cycle that will bring the winds of recovery to all corners of the country as soon as possible," he added.

The inauguration of a new Cabinet follows the Dec 14 general election that Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and junior partner Komeito won, securing a two-thirds majority in parliament. Earlier today, parliament will convene to pick a new prime minister, an election Mr Abe is assured of winning given his two-party coalition controls both chambers.

Besides measures to boost the economy, tough decisions also await the Cabinet, from the restarting of idled nuclear reactors to giving Japan's de facto military the power to go to the aid of friendly nations that come under attack.

Improving ties with China and South Korea will continue to prove challenging.

Since coming to office in Dec 2012, Mr Abe has not managed to achieve rapprochement with the two neighbours.

Much will hinge on how he approaches wartime "comfort women" and other issues in a statement he plans to bring out in August to mark 70 years of the end of World War Two.

wengkin@sph.com.sg