Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering reshuffling his Cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s leadership in early August, sources close to the prime minister said.
Abe will speed up the implementation of his "Abenomics" economic policy mix on the grounds that the public has approved it by giving the ruling coalition a majority of contested seats in the July 10 House of Councillors election.
The prime minister is considering carrying out a Cabinet reshuffle shortly after the extraordinary Diet session to be convened on Aug. 1, as ministries and agencies are set to make budgetary requests for fiscal 2017 in late August and Abe has a busy diplomatic schedule in early September. Moreover, the government needs to work out economic stimulus measures at an early date.
At a news conference on July 11, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the prime minister will retain Justice Minister Mitsuhide Iwaki and Aiko Shimajiri, state minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs, who lost their seats in the election, until the Cabinet reshuffle.
"I'd like them to fulfill their responsibility as Cabinet ministers," Suga told the news conference. "Prime Minister Abe also thinks the same way."
Regarding the scale of the reshuffle, the prime minister is considering whether to retain ministers in charges of economic policies since he has emphasized that the government is poised to speed up economic stimulus measures.
Specifically, attention is focused on whether Suga and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso will stay on. Regarding the reshuffle of the party's leadership, whether LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki will remain in his post is a focal point.
Tanigaki met with Yoshihisa Inoue, his counterpart in the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito, at the Diet on the morning of July 11 and agreed that an extraordinary Diet session would be convened for about three days from Aug. 1 to elect the president and vice president of the upper house, among other senior officials of the chamber. The LDP also held an executive panel meeting with Prime Minister Abe present.
The prime minister is set to meet Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi to ask for the party's cooperation in running the government.
Prime Minister Abe is expected to instruct Aso and other Cabinet members in charge of economic policies to compile a second supplementary budget for fiscal 2016, which will include economic stimulus measures, such as a response to Britain's decision to leave the European Union.