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Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, whose sole previous experience at the top of government was as education minister, has described himself as "neither a rightist nor leftist, but a neutralist."
Inside Japanese politics

How unknown Hirokazu Matsuno became PM Kishida's right-hand man

Lawmaker who wanted to be a film director now leads Japan's bureaucracy

MIKI OKUYAMA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- When Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida picked Hirokazu Matsuno, 59, as his chief cabinet secretary, the news surprised political pundits, and the question "Who is Matsuno?" arose quickly.

The pick for chief cabinet secretary -- the position responsible for reining in Japan's bureaucracy -- was neither Kochi Hagiuda, recommended by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, nor Itsunori Onodera, a former defense minister who belongs to the faction led by Kishida in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Both had been considered strong candidates.

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