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PM Abe pushing for work environment reforms in reshuffled Cabinet

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a news conference after his reshuffled Cabinet is launched on Aug. 3, 2016. (Pool photo)

Following the launch on Aug. 3 of what he called a "Cabinet determined to take on the future," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized that he prioritized reforms of Japan's working environment and labor conditions with concrete action plans to be drawn up by the end of this fiscal year.

    "We'll improve long working hours and achieve 'equal pay for equal work.' We are going to root out the phrase, 'non-regular jobs,' in this country," said Abe during a news conference on Aug. 3 after launching his reshuffled Cabinet. Abe announced a plan to set up a council under state minister Katsunobu Kato, in charge of the dynamic engagement of all citizens project, who will double as the minister in charge of working life reform -- a newly created post. Together with related ministers and experts, Kato will work out policies for promoting the minimum wage hike and job opportunities for senior citizens.

    On retaining Finance Minister Taro Aso, who also doubles as the deputy prime minister, and economic revitalization minister Nobuteru Ishihara, Abe said he hoped that the two ministers play key roles as the engines of his government's "Abenomics" economic policy mix.

    "The utmost priority is given to the economy. We're submitting a supplementary budget plan to the extraordinary Diet session this fall that is aimed at investing in the future," the prime minister added. He also repeated his strong will for constitutional amendments while in office.

    Meanwhile, newly appointed Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai touched again on the possibility of extending Prime Minister Abe's term as party president, which expires in September 2018, during a news conference on Aug. 3.

    Abe, however, told reporters, "There are two years left in my (second) presidential term. I have no intention to extend it."

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