Photo/IllutrationFinance Minister Taro Aso, left, congratulates Shinjiro Koizumi on his appointment as environment minister on Sept. 11. (Shogo Koshida)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has turned to close allies, new faces and even the son of a mentor-turned-nemesis to fill out his reshuffled Cabinet.

The new administration will be officially formed on Sept. 11 after the attestation by Emperor Naruhito.

Thirteen of the 19 Cabinet ministers picked by Abe have never held a Cabinet post, including Shinjiro Koizumi, who was named environment minister.

At 38, Koizumi becomes the third youngest Cabinet minister in the postwar era. The youngest Cabinet member was Yuko Obuchi, who was 34 when she was named minister in charge of measures to deal with the declining birthrate in 2008 by Prime Minister Taro Aso.

With Abe’s term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party ending in September 2021, the latest Cabinet makeup could become a forum for his possible successors to make their presence felt.

Fumio Kishida was retained as LDP policy chief, while other future prime minister candidates were named to Cabinet posts, including Toshimitsu Motegi as foreign minister, Katsunobu Kato as health minister and Taro Kono as defense minister.

Koizumi has also been touted as a possible future prime minister, following in the footsteps of his father, Junichiro, who served between 2001 and 2006.

Junichiro Koizumi mentored Abe but has in recent years repeatedly and publicly criticized the prime minister over his nuclear energy policy.

Abe named a number of close political allies to Cabinet posts, including Koichi Hagiuda as education minister, Seiichi Eto as state minister in charge of promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens, and Yasutoshi Nishimura as state minister for economic revitalization.

Before the reshuffle, Hagiuda was executive acting LDP secretary-general, Eto was a special adviser to Abe and Nishimura was deputy chief Cabinet secretary.

Hagiuda’s name came up in 2017 in the scandal over the government’s decision to allow a close friend of Abe to open a new veterinary medicine faculty.

Education ministry documents quoted Hagiuda as saying the prime minister’s office had pushed strongly for having the Kake Educational Institution approved as the operator of the faculty. Hagiuda denied ever making those comments.

Loyalty to Abe was apparently rewarded in the Cabinet reshuffle. But on the other side, members of the LDP faction led by Shigeru Ishiba were again left out in the cold.

Ishiba, a former defense minister and LDP secretary-general, challenged Abe in the LDP presidential election in September 2018. Shinjiro Koizumi had supported Ishiba’s bid in that vote.

Another first-time Cabinet minister is Seiko Hashimoto, who was put in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. She is one of two women named to the Cabinet.

Sanae Takaichi, another close Abe ally, was returned to the post of internal affairs and communications minister.

Hashimoto, an Upper House member, represented Japan in speedskating at the Winter Olympics and cycling at the Summer Games.

Only two ministers were retained from the previous Cabinet--Aso, who is finance minister, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

In addition to Kishida, Toshihiro Nikai was retained as LDP secretary-general, while Shunichi Suzuki was newly named chairman of the party General Council.

Lineup of new Abe Cabinet

* Prime Minister:

Shinzo Abe, 64, Lower House, LDP

* Deputy Prime Minister/ Finance Minister:

Taro Aso, 78, Lower House, LDP

* Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications:

Sanae Takaichi, 58, Lower House, LDP

* Justice Minister:

Katsuyuki Kawai, 56, Lower House, LDP

* Foreign Minister:

Toshimitsu Motegi, 63, Lower House, LDP

* Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology:

Koichi Hagiuda, 56, Lower House, LDP

* Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare:

Katsunobu Kato, 63, Lower House, LDP

* Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:

Taku Eto, 59, Lower House, LDP

* Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry:

Isshu Sugawara, 57, Lower House, LDP

* Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism:

Kazuyoshi Akaba, 61, Lower House, Komeito

* Environment Minister:

Shinjiro Koizumi, 38, Lower House, LDP

* Defense Minister:

Taro Kono, 56, Lower House, LDP

* Chief Cabinet Secretary

Yoshihide Suga, 70, Lower House, LDP

* Reconstruction Minister:

Kazunori Tanaka, 70, Lower House, LDP

* National Public Safety Commission Chairman/ Minister in charge of disaster prevention:

Ryota Takeda, 51, Lower House, LDP

* Minister for promoting dynamic engagement of all citizens/ Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs:

Seiichi Eto, 71, Upper House, LDP

* Minister for information technology:

Naokazu Takemoto, 78, Lower House, LDP

* Minister for economic revitalization:

Yasutoshi Nishimura, 56, Lower House, LDP

* Minister for regional revitalization:

Seigo Kitamura, 72, Lower House, LDP

* Minister for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games:

Seiko Hashimoto, 54, Upper House, LDP