Abe To Plan Cabinet Reshuffle If He Wins Third Term

September 17, 2018 – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last night that he plans to reshuffle his Cabinet and the top posts in his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) if he wins the ruling party’s upcoming presidential election.

Abe, 63, made the remarks during a program on public broadcaster NHK. “We will have the Imperial succession and the Group of 20 summit next year, and then the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (the year after next). I want to utilize reliable people,” Abe said.

After the leadership race, the premier is scheduled to visit the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly. The personnel reshuffle is expected to take place in early October following his return to Japan.

Abe took part in the TV program along with his contender in the party poll, former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, 61. As for his potential successors, Abe said that there are “many.” “I want them to compete with each other and work hard for the next generation,” Abe said.

Regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sudden proposal to Abe that Japan and Russia sign a peace treaty without preconditions before the end of this year, Abe revealed that he asked Putin about his true intentions. The proposal was made during an open session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, while Putin, Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping were on stage.

According to Abe, Putin mentioned that Xi was with them and explained that China and Russia signed a peace treaty first and then settled a variety of issues including a territorial dispute. Putin then said he will definitely solve the territorial issue with Japan.

“We should not panic every time something is said,” Abe said. “I want the ruling party to trust the government.”

Regarding the favoritism scandals involving school operators Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution, Abe acknowledged that he is under suspicion. “I would like to continue to explain thoroughly whenever asked,” he said.

In a debate session with Abe on the Niconico online streaming service, Ishiba said constitutional revisions should gain at least 60 percent of support in a national referendum, although the requirement stipulated by the supreme law is a simple majority. “A result like 51 versus 49 should be avoided. We want to get at least 60 percent support, or hopefully 70 percent,” he said.

Abe rebutted this argument by saying that it is “wrong to raise the hurdle by changing the rule in the Constitution. It’s whether a majority is won or not,” the premier said.

Earlier in the day, the LDP presidential candidates attended joint speech sessions in the western Japan city of Tsu in Mie Prefecture and the city of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, in northern Japan.