Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a press conference in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 2022. (Pool photo)(Kyodo)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Saturday he will likely reshuffle his Cabinet next week to tackle various challenges ranging from accelerating inflation and Russia’s war against Ukraine to heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Kishida said he will instruct all of the ministers in his new Cabinet to review their possible ties with the Unification Church, which has come under public scrutiny following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about a month ago.
Kishida plans to revamp his Cabinet and the executive lineup of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday, senior administration sources said Friday. It will be the first overhaul since the ruling coalition led by the LDP clinched a sweeping victory in the July 10 House of Councillors election.
“I’ve been always thinking about making a new start with new members, given the challenges,” Kishida told a press conference in Hiroshima after attending a ceremony to mark the 77th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the western Japan city.
“I’ve decided to go ahead with the plan now, at the exact timing I had in mind,” he said.
After the reshuffle, work to draw up a state budget for the next fiscal year from April will begin as government ministries and agencies normally submit their budgetary requests in late August.
Another priority for the government is to bolster the country’s security and decide by how much defense spending should be increased.
A state funeral for Abe, who was killed by a lone gunman during campaigning in early July, is planned for Sept. 27, with the public divided over the use of taxpayers’ money.
Abe’s alleged links to the Unification Church, founded in South Korea in 1954 and now formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, motivated the suspect to target the former prime minister, investigative sources have said.