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Suzuki to be Japan finance chief; Motegi to stay as foreign minister

Fumio Kishida, set to take office as Japan's prime minister next week, plans to appoint senior ruling party lawmaker Shunichi Suzuki as finance minister and retain Toshimitsu Motegi as foreign minister, party sources said Friday.
Kishida, the new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, is considering Daishiro Yamagiwa, 53, for economic and fiscal policy minister in a new cabinet he will launch after being elected prime minister on Monday, the sources said.
Yamagiwa, who currently serves as acting chairman of the LDP Policy Research Council, has also been floated for minister of economy, trade and industry.
Suzuki, 68, will replace Taro Aso, 81, who has headed the Finance Ministry since December 2012 and oversaw two consumption tax hikes and efforts to rein in Japan's massive public debt.
Aso is married to Suzuki's older sister, while Suzuki belongs to an intraparty faction headed by Aso.
Posts previously held by Suzuki, whose father was former Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki, include environment minister and minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Aso will serve as LDP vice president following a reshuffle of party executives on Friday.
Motegi, 65, will keep the position he has held since September 2019.
As head of the Foreign Ministry, he will continue to be responsible for boosting cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries in the face of challenges including China's growing economic and military influence, and the recent resumption of ballistic missile launches by North Korea.
Kishida is set to name former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno, 59, as chief cabinet secretary, replacing Katsunobu Kato.
The role, often called the lynchpin of an administration, includes holding daily press conferences as the government's top spokesperson and coordinating policy among various ministries and agencies.
Matsuno belongs to a faction headed by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, over which former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to wield strong influence despite no longer being an official member.
After winning the LDP presidential election Wednesday, Kishida is all but certain to be elected the new prime minister in an extraordinary Diet session next Monday as the ruling coalition holds a majority in both chambers of parliament.
Kishida is likely to dissolve the House of Representatives on Oct. 14 for a general election either on Nov. 7 or 14, according to people close to him.
Kishida on Friday named a new lineup of party executives tasked with buoying public support ahead of next month's general election.
Former Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Akira Amari, 72, will serve as secretary general, the LDP's de facto No. 2 post, while former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, 60, was named chairwoman of the policy council.


© KYODO
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