Japan Data

Abe Reshuffles Cabinet in Bid to Reverse Slumping Approval


On August 3, 2017, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet for the third time since being reelected premier in 2014, replacing 13 of 19 incumbent ministers. Kōno Tarō was appointed as minister for foreign affairs and Onodera Itsunori was tapped for minister of defense. Noda Seiko returned to the cabinet, taking on the role of minister of internal affairs and communications.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō reshuffled his cabinet on August 3, 2017, in an attempt to rejuvenate his slumping approval ratings. For the past several months Abe has seen public support for his administration steadily erode amid swirling allegations of favoritism in connection with the government approval of a veterinary school to be headed by one of his long-time friends. His popularity has also taken a hit from other areas, including a series of gaffes and a coverup scandal  involving Defense Minister Inada Tomomi, who resigned her post in late July.

Abe hopes to keep his agenda on track, including plans to amend the Constitution, by showing his administration has turned a new page with the reshuffle. The prime minister also rearranged the executive arm of his own Liberal Democratic Party to reassert control and quell possible dissent among the ranks.

Asō and Suga Remain, Kishida Takes LDP Post

Minister of Finance Asō Tarō and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide were among six key figures who retained their positions. Abe drew broadly from the LDP ranks for new posts and gave precedence to previous cabinet experience to bring stability and recast his administration in a more positive light. Notable additions include Kōno Tarō as minister for foreign affairs and Noda Seiko as minister of internal affairs and communications. However, the reshuffle reduces the number of female cabinet members from three to two. Ishii Keiichi, the cabinet’s one member from the LDP’s coalition partner Kōmeitō, remains in his post as minister of land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism.

In the LDP’s executive arm, Nikai Toshihiro retains his position as secretary-general and Takeshita Wataru replaces Hosoda Hiroyuki as chair of the LDP General Council. Kishida Fumio, who had been minister for foreign affairs, will chair the LDP Policy Research Council, and Shionoya Ryū will head the Election Strategy Committee.

The full cabinet is as follows.

Prime minister

Abe Shinzō

Deputy prime minister
Minister of finance

Asō Tarō

Minister of internal affairs and communications

Noda Seiko

Minister of justice

Kamikawa Yōko

Minister for foreign affairs

Kōno Tarō

Minister of education, culture, sport, science, and technology

Hayashi Yoshimasa

Minister of health, labor, and welfare

Katō Katsunobu

Minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries

Saitō Ken

Minister of economy, trade, and industry

Sekō Hiroshige

Minister of land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism

Ishii Keiichi

Minister of the environment

Nakagawa Masaharu

Minister of defense

Onodera Itsunori

Chief cabinet secretary

Suga Yoshihide

Minister for reconstruction

Yoshino Masayoshi

Chair of the National Public Safety Commission

Okonogi Hachirō

Minister of state for Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs

Esaki Tetsuma

Minister in charge of economic revitalization

Motegi Toshimitsu

Minister for promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens, science and technology policy

Matsuyama Masaji

Minister of state for overcoming population decline and reviving local economies

Kajiyama Hiroshi

Minister of state for Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

Suzuki Shun’ichi

(Banner photo: Prime Minister Abe Shinzō (second from left of front row) and the new cabinet after its first meeting in Tokyo on August 3, 2017. © Jiji.)

politics Abe Shinzō LDP cabinet