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Japan's Abe to retain key allies Aso and Suga in reshuffle

New cabinet could be named as early as Oct. 1 as PM cements grip on party

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, is likely to keep his long-time ally Taro Aso, finance minister and deputy prime minister, in his third Cabinet.   © AP

TOKYO -- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who secured his third term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in an election Thursday, will reshuffle his Cabinet and senior party positions as early as Oct. 1.

Abe is expected to keep key posts in the current Cabinet unchanged, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Taro Aso, who doubles as deputy prime minister and finance minister, both expected to retain their posts.

This means Suga and Aso will have been in their respective posts since the 2012 start of the second incarnation of the Abe Cabinet.

It is believed that Abe sees the two officials as anchors to stabilize his administration as he is set to launch the third term of his premiership.

At an extraordinary meeting of senior LDP officials on Thursday, Abe said he plans to fly to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly next week and meet with U.S. President Donald Trump. He also said he would work on the reshuffle of senior party posts and the Cabinet "promptly upon returning."

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