TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering replacing Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Seiko Noda, 58, and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ken Saito, 59, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.
Noda did not run in the Sept. 20 presidential election of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and supported the victorious Abe. However, she has faced criticism for leaking information on a freedom of information request filed with the Financial Services Agency in connection with her office's inquiry to the agency over financial regulations.
Saito complained publicly that a pro-Abe lawmaker pressured him to resign for supporting Abe's presidential election opponent and former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba.
Prime Minister Abe intends to meet with Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of junior ruling coalition partner Komeito, on Oct. 1 and confirm the main framework of the Cabinet personnel reshuffle.
Abe told reporters in New York on Sept. 26 that he intends to keep four senior officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso, 78, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, 69.
Meanwhile, party General Council Chairman Wataru Takeshita, 71, faces the possibility of replacement. Takeshita and some members of his faction supported Ishiba in the presidential race. His replacement is not yet decided.
Abe also intends to keep party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai, 79, and Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida, 61, in their positions.
(Japanese original by Yu Takayama and Hiroyuki Tanaka, Political News Department)