Tokyo, September 13


apanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reshuffled his Cabinet to boost his government's popularity amid speculation that he is exploring the best timing to dissolve the lower house for a snap election, Kyodo News reported.

Kyodo News is a nonprofit news agency based in Minato, Tokyo.

The Japanese PM has inducted five women as ministers to the new cabinet.

Kishida hopes the revamp will help pave the way for his Liberal Democratic Party to emerge victorious again from the next House of Representatives election and strengthen support from within his party before the LDP presidential race next year, as per Kyodo News.

Kishida has selected 11 new faces as he moves to create a fresh image for his Cabinet while retaining several key members to maintain stability. Former Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, a veteran female lawmaker, was named foreign minister.

Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura remained in their positions. Matsuno and Nishimura are known for their conservative leanings.

The reshuffle comes as support for Kishida's administration has continued to slide due to problems with the "My Number" national identification card system and public frustration over rising prices in the absence of salary hikes.

Kishida has retained Digital Minister Taro Kono, a Georgetown University graduate and popular figure who has previously served as foreign minister, to tackle the My Number card problems.

Among new faces, Minoru Kihara, who served as a special adviser to former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, was tapped as defence minister. Kihara is a senior member of a bipartisan group aimed at promoting ties with Taiwan.

Other new Cabinet members include health minister Keizo Takemi, reconstruction minister Shinako Tsuchiya and farm minister Ichiro Miyashita.

As part of efforts to bolster his support, Kishida was keen to expand the number of female ministers in a country notorious for its slow progress in women's empowerment. A World Economic Forum report said earlier this year that Japan ranked 138th out of 146 nations in gender equality in politics, as per Kyodo News.

Japan PM Fumio Kishida reshuffles Cabinet to bolster support amid election speculation

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