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Politics

Abe planning major cabinet reshuffle in late August

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe informed aides and senior Liberal Democratic Party officials Tuesday that he plans to revamp his cabinet late next month.

     The realignment will be the first since Abe took office in December 2012. The cabinet has recently come under fire for a decision approving broader powers for Japan's military.

     The shake-up will likely take place after the Bon holiday, no earlier than Aug. 18. This will allow the new cabinet to handle the fiscal 2015 budget request, which is slated for the end of August. The first progress report from a probe by North Korea on the status of Japanese abductees is expected to come between the end of August and early September as well.

     The selection of LDP leadership, whose terms are set to end in September, will be moved up in conjunction with the reshuffle.

     Abe plans to replace at least half of his 18 cabinet ministers in response to calls from LDP members for a major revamp. But many expect Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba and Finance Minister Taro Aso, who all play key roles, to remain in place.

     The changes will include the creation of new posts to handle national security legislation and building up local economies.

(Nikkei)

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