Close aide of Abe to head up education in Cabinet reshuffle

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to appoint Koichi Hagiuda, 56, to the position of education, culture, sports, science and technology minister in the Cabinet reshuffle.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to appoint Koichi Hagiuda, 56, who is executive acting secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, to the position of education, culture, sports, science and technology minister in the Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, according to sources.
 Sanae Takaichi, 58, currently chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Administration, is seen reassuming the role of internal affairs and communications minister.
 Seiichi Eto, 71, special adviser to the prime minister; Katsuyuki Kawai, 56, the LDP’s special adviser to the party’s leader on foreign affairs; and Isshu Sugawara, 57, a lawmaker in the lower house, will likely join the Cabinet for the first time.
 Hagiuda is a close aide to the prime minister and belongs to the LDP’s Hosoda faction, to which Abe also belongs. Hagiuda has served as the LDP’s special adviser to the party leader, deputy chief cabinet secretary and in other positions and would be joining the Cabinet for the first time. Takaichi, who was internal affairs and communications minister for three years in the second Abe Cabinet following the September 2014 reshuffle, is likely to take up the position again. Eto has been a special adviser since the second Abe Cabinet, which was launched in December 2012. Both Kawai and Sugawara, who do not belong to any faction, are close to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
 Abe is expected to replace most of his ministers apart from Suga and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso in a shake-up aimed at creating a strong lineup of stability and the ability to challenge things.
 Abe is expected to name Seiko Hashimoto, 54, a former chairperson of the LDP’s General Assembly of Party Members of the House of Councillors, as the minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Katsunobu Kato, 63, chairperson of the LDP’s General Council, and Yasutoshi Nishimura, 56, deputy chief cabinet secretary, are expected to become economic ministers.
 Among the ruling party’s senior officials, the four top executive posts are believed to already be decided. LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai and Policy Research Council chairperson Fumio Kishida are expected to retain their positions. Abe is expected to appoint Shunichi Suzuki, 66 — incumbent minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — as chairperson of the General Council, and Hakubun Shimomura, 65 — chairperson of LDP’s Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision of the Constitution — as chairperson of the LDP’s Election Strategy Committee.
 Abe will decide on the LDP’s executive lineup on Wednesday morning and gather ministers’ letters of resignation at a provisional Cabinet meeting. After a meeting with Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi in the afternoon on the same day, the list of ministers names will be delivered. Abe will announce the aim of the Cabinet reshuffle at a press conference, and after an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace, the fourth Abe Cabinet will be launched.

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