Japan’s Cabinet resigns en masse, to make way for new administration

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Japan’s Cabinet resigns ahead of reshuffle

TOKYO — Japan’s Cabinet resigned en masse Friday to make way for a revamped administration after Prime Minister Naoto Kan survived the ruling party’s leadership election this week.

The reshuffled Cabinet was to be announced Friday afternoon, said Noriyuki Shikata, a spokesman for the prime minister.

The new Cabinet will have a new foreign minister. Katsuya Okada is leaving the Cabinet after accepting the ruling Democratic Party’s No. 2 post. His likely replacement is Seiji Maehara, who is currently the land and transport minister.

Other key minister posts, including defense, finance and trade, are largely expected to be retained.

Kan, who took office just three months ago, won the party leadership election Tuesday and vowed to use his victory over party veteran Ichiro Ozawa to push ahead with efforts to cap spending, create jobs and build unity within the often fractious ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

Kan’s party election victory meant that he remains prime minister because of the Democrat’s superior numbers in the lower house of parliament.

Kan was expected to focus on pushing policies through a divided parliament, where the Democrats and their junior coalition partner lost their majority in the upper house in July elections.

He is also likely to be grilled over a plan to relocate a major U.S. Marine base now housed on the southern island of Okinawa, a divisive issue that helped force out his predecessor. He also faces a growing territorial spat between Japan and neighbor China.

will not be displayed