Abe reshuffles LDP leadership

Abe retained Toshihiro Nikai as LDP Secretary General.

Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Wataru Takeshita has been named General Council Chairman.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida took the post of Policy Research Council Chairman. Kishida has shown a willingness to succeed Abe as prime minister.

Former education minister Ryu Shionoya has been appointed Election Strategy Committee Chairman.

Masahiko Komura stays on as party Vice President.

As for cabinet ministers, Abe picked former National Public Safety Commission Chairperson Taro Kono as Foreign Minister. Kono called on the Defense Ministry to search again for its activity logs on Japanese UN peacekeepers in South Sudan after the ministry said it had already discarded the records.

Itsunori Onodera, acting Chairman of the party’s Policy Research Council, is expected to serve as Defense Minister once again. The Defense Ministry has been mired in the alleged cover-up of the reports on South Sudan.

Former agriculture minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is expected to head the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.

Hayashi will have the task of restoring trust in the ministry, which is involved in an alleged influence-peddling scandal. It was also under fire for arranging illegal private-sector employment for retiring ministry officials.

Abe tapped former General Council Chairwoman of the party Seiko Noda as Internal Affairs and Communications Minister. Noda had been distancing herself from Abe. She had planned to challenge Abe in the LDP presidential election in 2015 even though she did not run in the race.

State Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ken Saito is expected to be promoted to the ministry’s top post.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled the Liberal Democratic Party leadership on Thursday. He is set to appoint his new Cabinet later in the day. (NHK)

The 27-year-old primary school teacher from China had travelled there for a solo trip and was staying in a hostel in Sapporo, a picturesque, mountainous city on the island of Hokkaido. (news.com.au)

A Japanese court has ordered a pro-North Korean group to repay more than 800 million dollars in debts to a Japanese government-backed collection agency. (NHK)

The Japanese government launched a search Wednesday for venomous fire ants at the 68 ports that regularly receive shipping containers from other countries including China. (Japan Today)

Two men arrested in connection with a woman whose body was found in a forest in central Japan may have stolen hundreds of dollars’ worth of bitcoins after abandoning her body. (NHK)

Japan is considered a “super-aged” nation, where more than 20% of the population is over 65 and the birth rate has reached record lows. (CNN)

A short-term rental platform in China is keeping an eye on the growing number of Chinese travelers to Japan. The company, Tujia, has announced a tie-up with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. (NHK)

Nine major Japanese hotels established before World War II are kicking off a joint marketing blitz and enhancing services to lure more foreign tourists. (Nikkei)

Japanese school lunches aren’t synonymous with “mystery meat,” but rather, shokuiku. It means “food and nutrition education,” and it’s a vital part of the Japanese child’s early education. (businessinsider.com)

Outdoor theme park Legoland Japan plans to expand its area to some 13 hectares, 1.4 times the current size, the head of its operator said in a recent interview. (Japan Times)

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