The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has named several veteran politicians in his new cabinet, in a move seen as an attempt to boost his popularity after a major defeat in the elections for the country’s upper house. The Foreign Minister is Nobutaka Machimura, a conservative who wants to revive Japanese patriotism, and give his country a bigger say in world affairs.
Kaoru Yosano has been named chief cabinet secretary – he advocates fiscal reforms, including a 5 per cent rise in consumption tax, and an independent central bank. Abe’s close ally Taro Aso is named secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party. He too has already served in various key cabinet roles, and is hawkish on security – but has made several verbal blunders in the past.
Prime Minister Abe’s support took a nosedive after he took office a year ago on an ambitious conservative agenda. But scandals and gaffes by previous cabinet members contributed to an opposition victory in July, when the country went to the polls to elect the upper house.
Commentators say Abe’s new administration will find it hard to get their programme of legislation through in the face of opposition from the upper house.