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PM Abe to keep basic framework of Cabinet, retain Aso, Suga

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (Mainichi)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to keep the basic framework of his Cabinet when he reshuffles the government, retaining Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, government sources said.

The prime minister will shake up his Cabinet to speed up the "Abenomics" economic policy mix his government is promoting, following the ruling coalition's victory in the July 10 House of Councillors election.

"The prime minister is considering appointing the right people to the right positions in order to respond to domestic and foreign policy issues," Suga told a news conference on July 25. He added, "The prime minister is selecting the human resources necessary to achieve the dynamic engagement of all citizens and promote comprehensive and bold economic policy measures."

Prime Minister Abe wants to retain ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki, who was injured in a cycling accident earlier this month. The prime minister is set to judge whether Tanigaki can continue his job after ascertaining how far he has recovered from his wounds.

The prime minister also intends to retain Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the LDP General Council, who has suggested that Abe's term as LDP president can be extended.

Abe is considering a medium-scale Cabinet reshuffle. However, if Tanigaki is to be replaced, the scale of the reorganization could be larger because his entire reshuffle plan would change.

Moreover, the prime minister plans to appoint Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and LDP Policy Research Council head Tomomi Inada to other important positions. Moreover, he is considering naming Hiroshige Seko, who has been deputy chief Cabinet secretary for more than 3 1/2 years, to either a Cabinet or party leadership post.

Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, is considering asking the prime minister to retain its legislator Keiichi Ishii as land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister. As soon as Komeito makes a final decision on the matter, the party will notify Prime Minister Abe of its desire.

Justice Minister Mitsuhide Iwaki and Aiko Shimajiri, state minister for Okinawa and Northern Territory affairs, who lost their seats in the upper house election, will be replaced.

Moreover, Abe is considering replacing Cabinet ministers implicated in money scandals -- such as Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Hiroshi Moriyama, who accepted funds from an industry organization, and Reconstruction Minister Tsuyoshi Takagi , who gave funds to a resident of his constituency as "condolence money."

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