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Japan's Abe to co-opt rival, draft more women in cabinet reshuffle

Published on Sep 3, 2014 4:48 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to co-opt a rival and draft more women to spruce up his image while keeping key ministers when he reshuffles his cabinet on Wednesday, a rejig dictated more by political dynamics than policy matters.

Abe has not revamped his cabinet since returning to office in December 2012, a record for a post-World War Two premier. That means dozens of veterans in his male-dominated Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are eager to be tapped for a post.

The risks, however, are that those left out could become more vocal in criticising Abe if his administration hits a rough patch, or that novice new ministers might commit gaffes.

Abe, who surged to power promising to revive the economy and bolster Japan's security stance in the face of a rising China, has seen his support slip to around 50 per cent, still high for a Japanese premier but off early peaks of around 60 per cent.

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