The Straits Times
Published on Dec 25, 2012

Japan's new PM likely to name Fumio Kishida as foreign minister: media

Policy veteran Toshimitsu Motegi could be named trade minister


TOKYO (REUTERS) – Incoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will appoint lower house lawmaker Fumio Kishida to
the key post of foreign minister, and policy veteran Toshimitsu Motegi as trade minister, who will also take charge of energy and other key economic policies, media reported on Tuesday.

Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday that Mr Kishida's appointment comes as the government seeks to balance a bolder diplomatic stance with the need to repair frayed ties with China and South Korea.

The hawkish Mr Abe must balance the need to stabilise relations with key trade partner Beijing and US ally Seoul – which have been strained by rows over territory and wartime history – while bolstering Tokyo’s alliance with Washington and trying to loosen the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military.

Mr Kishida, 55, entered politics after working at the now-defunct Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan. He previously served
as a state minister in charge of Okinawa-related issues in Mr Abe’s first 2006-2007 cabinet. Previous media reports had said Mr Abe might tap former Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi for the post.