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Japanese PM reshuffles cabinet, picks new foreign and defense ministers

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, appointing new foreign and defense ministers, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said.

Japan’s new Foreign Minister is Toshimitsu Motegi, a former economy minister, who took part in trade talks with the United States.

Former Foreign Minister Taro Kono has been shifted to defense minister, replacing Takeshi Iwaya, who had been in office for nearly a year.

Hiroshige Seko, a former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, who also oversaw fostering economic relations with Russia, has not joined Japan’s new cabinet. He was replaced by former Deputy Finance Minister Isshu Sugawara, who will be now responsible for cultivating economic ties between Japan and Russia.

In his turn, Seko has been appointed as the secretary general of the parliament’s upper house.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has carried out a major reshuffle of his cabinet since 2012, replacing 13 ministers, including foreign, defense, justice and economy ministers. Only two ministers retained their posts, namely Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who have remained in Abe’s government since he came to power in December 2012.

Despite major changes, Abe said he sought to maintain stability in the government and prepare for new challenges. Besides, Abe traditionally uses reshuffles to rotate the cabinet and the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in order to ensure balance in the party.

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