Prof. Harukata Takenaka of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies shares his thoughts on the latest reshuffle of Cabinet members and Liberal Democratic Party executives.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s approval rating has been on a downward slide since the exposure of links between members of his Cabinet and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, which is widely known as the Unification Church.
The appointments in his latest reshuffle may be aimed at reversing the trend.
As a few members of his former Cabinet had remained in their posts after retiring as House of Councilors lawmakers following July’s upper house election, Kishida might have wanted to appoint replacements as soon as possible.
Kishida appears to have taken into consideration various factions, appointing as chairperson of the LDP’s Election Strategy Committee Hiroshi Moriyama, who is close to former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and former LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, neither of whom are members of mainstream factions.
It can be said that the Cabinet has demonstrated a commitment to a balanced, all-party approach.
Featuring many former ministers, and lawmakers such as Health, Labor, and Welfare Minister Katsunobu Kato, who served in the administration of Shinzo Abe, the Cabinet is stability-oriented.
The lack of young lawmakers in the lineup may be risky in the long run, bearing in mind the need to foster party personnel for the future.
In addition to measures against the novel coronavirus and surging prices, it is also important to deal with the situation in Ukraine and the growing tension surrounding Taiwan.
Increased defense spending will be a key issue in next year’s budget compilation.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada’s coordination skills will also be put to the test as he prepares to revise three defense documents, including the National Security Strategy, before the end of the year.