Japanese premier Abe to reshuffle Cabinet on Sept 3

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) walks past Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (C) after his speech during an annual memorial service for war victims in Tokyo on Aug 15, when the country marked the 69th anniversary of its surrender in Worl
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) walks past Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (C) after his speech during an annual memorial service for war victims in Tokyo on Aug 15, when the country marked the 69th anniversary of its surrender in World War II. Mr Abe plans to reshuffle his Cabinet on Sept 3 in the first shake-up of his administration since late 2012, government sources said. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (YOMUIRI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to reshuffle his Cabinet on Sept 3, marking the first shake-up since the inauguration of his second administration in late 2012, government sources said.

Mr Abe, who also heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), also plans to reshuffle the party's top echelon on Sept 2 in tandem with the Cabinet overhaul, the sources said on Saturday.

Changes to the Cabinet will be sweeping, with at least 10 of 18 ministers expected to be replaced, the sources said.

However, three key Cabinet ministers are expected to remain in their current roles: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Mr Akira Amari, minister in charge of economic revitalisation.

In contrast, the prime minister intends to replace all top three LDP officials-Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, Policy Research Council Chairwoman Sanae Takaichi and General Council Chairwoman Seiko Noda.

Mr Abe intends to appoint Mr Ishiba to a new ministerial post in charge of national security legislation. He is also considering giving Ms Takaichi a portfolio in his reformed Cabinet.

Mr Abe had said he would reshuffle his Cabinet in the first week of September. Talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were set for Sept 1. The decision on the timetable for the Japan-India summit meeting prompted Mr Abe to decide on a Cabinet reshuffle on Sept 3 after considering the schedule of the Emperor, who will attend an attestation ceremony for new members of the Cabinet.

On Sept 3, the headquarters of forming a Cabinet will be set up in the morning and the new Cabinet will be launched by night via an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace.