TOKYO(Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, dropping some ministers with links to the Unification Church. Here are some facts about his new cabinet and key party officials: FINANCE MINISTER SHUNICHI SUZUKI The 69-year-old, re-appointed to the position of finance minister on Wednesday, is the brother-in-law of his predecessor, Taro […]
Factbox-Profiles of Japanese cabinet ministers after Kishida reshuffle
TOKYO(Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, dropping some ministers with links to the Unification Church.
Here are some facts about his new cabinet and key party officials:
FINANCE MINISTER SHUNICHI SUZUKI
The 69-year-old, re-appointed to the position of finance minister on Wednesday, is the brother-in-law of his predecessor, Taro Aso, and the son of former premier Zenko Suzuki.
He has been tasked with overseeing the government’s response to exchange rate fluctuations and has gradually stepped up verbal warnings against the yen’s rapid slide this year.
That is in marked constrast to many of his predecessors, who usually spoke to talk down a rise in the yen.
Suzuki does not have a strong stance on fiscal policy, beyond sticking closely to the finance ministry’s line. He is likely to continue the government’s bid to balance growth spending with fiscal reform.
FOREIGN MINISTER YOSHIMASA HAYASHI
Also re-appointed was the 61-year-old Hayashi, a senior member of a traditionally dovish faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Educated at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, he became foreign minister last October.
Soon after, Hayashi stepped down as head of the Japan-China Parliamentarians’ Friendship League, as there were doubts among conservative lawmakers in the ruling LDP about his ability to take a firm line on China while heading the league.
Hayashi, whose father, Yoshiro, once served as finance minister, has held the defence, education and agriculture portfolios as well.
DEFENCE MINISTER YASUKAZU HAMADA
Hamada, 66, is a former defence minister who served in the cabinet of prime minister Taro Aso for nearly a year from 2008. He has a background in defence and security policy as well as agricultural issues.
A graduate of Tokyo’s Senshu University, Hamada was one of a group of lawmakers who visited Taiwan in July.
DIGITAL MINISTER TARO KONO
Kono, 59, has served in cabinet posts ranging from defence to foreign affairs. In January 2021 he was entrusted with overseeing vaccinations against COVID-19 by former prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
Known as a political maverick who does not hestitate to speak his mind even on controversial issues, the internet-savvy Kono has a wide following on social media that makes him a popular potential premier among voters.
After losing to Kishida in the LDP leadership race in 2021, he was appointed as the party’s public relations chief.
Kono is the son of retired politician and former chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono, who authored a landmark 1993 apology to women forced to work in Japanese military wartime brothels.
In 2002 he donated part of his liver in a successful attempt to save the life of his father, ailing from cirrhosis.
INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER MINORU TERADATerada, 62, is a Hiroshima native like Kishida, and was previously a special adviser to the prime minister in charge of security policy and nuclear non-proliferation.
A graduate of the University of Tokyo, Terada joined the finance ministry in 1980 and studied at Harvard. In 2004 he was elected to the lower house for the first time.
Terada’s wife, Keiko, is a grand-daughter of former prime Minister Hayato Ikeda.
TOSHIMITSU MOTEGI, LDP SECRETARY-GENERAL
A former newspaper reporter and consultant, Motegi, 66, became LDP secretary-general last year, taking the No. 2 post after Kishida, who doubles as LDP president.
Prior to that role, Motegi helped conclude multi-lateral talks to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional free trade pact as economy minister, and then in 2019 became foreign minister in the government of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Head of the LDP’s second-largest faction, Motegi, who also served as trade minister, has been tipped as a future prime minister.
KOICHI HAGIUDA, CHAIRMAN OF LDP POLICY RESEARCH COUNCIL
Hagiuda, 59, is a long-time ally of Abe, whose assassination last month shocked the nation, and has served as deputy chief cabinet secretary, vice minister for education and industry minister.
On Wednesday, he was moved from his post as industry minister to be chairman of the party’s policy research council.
As minister, he played a key role in Japan’s efforts to secure a stable energy supply following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, repeatedly emphasising Japan’s intention to maintain its stake in the Sakhalin-1 oil project.
He also took part last month in the inaugural meeting of an “economic 2+2” two-way dialogue with the United States, an effort to push back at China’s growing influence.
(Reporting by Elaine Lies, Kiyoshi Takenaka and Daniel Leussink; Editing by David Dolan and Clarence Fernandez)