Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reshuffle Japanese cabinet

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will shuffle the national cabinet today. The change is intended to rebrand his Liberal Democratic

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will shuffle the national cabinet today. The change is intended to rebrand his Liberal Democratic Party ahead of his term-end in 2021.

Key new appointments will be of the current Foreign Minister Taro Kono as the Defence Minister and the current Economic Revitalisation Minister Toshimitsu Motegi as the Foreign Minister. The two leaders are expected to tackle conflicted strategic ties with South Korea and the rising threat of North Korean nuclear armament.

However, PM Abe’s domestic aspiration is to reform the post-war, US-drafted pacifist constitution. Owing to the document, Japan has renounced war and standing military forces except for self-defence. PM Abe lost the two-thirds majority—which is required to amend the constitution—in July’s upper house election. Opponents to the constitutional amendment fear that Japan could become entangled in US-led conflicts.

Tokyo has had to rely upon help from Seoul and Washington for its intelligence and security matters. Mr Abe’s proposed reforms, though unlikely to pass in the short term, would provide greater Japanese deterrence against North Korean nuclearisation, while allowing Japan to formulate defence strategies better aligned with its own interests and priorities.