Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to reshuffle his cabinet Wednesday, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.
Kishida, also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is considering reshuffling the party’s leadership team on Tuesday or Wednesday, the sources said.
Attention is on whether Kishida will be able to keep the LDP united to pave the way for his long reign. He initially planned to reshuffle his cabinet and the LDP executive team in early September.
The Kishida cabinet’s public approval ratings remain high, but he has recently been under fire since the revelations of ties between LDP lawmakers and the Unification Church religious group. Kishida aims to improve his political fortunes by reshuffling the cabinet and LDP leadership, people familiar with this thinking said.
Kishida plans to retain key members of the cabinet and LDP leadership in an effort to ensure political stability as he faces a host of challenges including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tensions over Taiwan, surging COVID-19 cases and rising inflation.
He plans to keep intact Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki. Industry minister Koichi Hagiuda is expected to stay on or be named to a different senior post.
At the LDP, Vice President Taro Aso and Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi are expected to stay in their posts.
Among other LDP executives, Policy Research Council Chairwoman Sanae Takaichi and General Council Chairman Tatsuo Fukuda may be replaced, the sources said.
In the cabinet, agriculture minister Genjiro Kaneko and Satoshi Ninoyu, chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, will be replaced as they retired from politics when their terms as members of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of parliament, ended last month.