Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will likely keep Koichi Hagiuda in a prominent position by retaining him in the Cabinet or making him an executive in the Liberal Democratic Party as part of the upcoming personnel reshuffle, according to sources.
Hagiuda currently serves as the economy, trade and industry minister but could be given the key LDP post of Policy Research Council chairperson, which Kishida once held, the sources said.
Kishida plans to reshuffle his Cabinet and the LDP executive lineup on Wednesday.
As LDP president, Kishida held extraordinary meetings on Monday evening of the party's board and its general council ahead of making party leadership appointments.
Earlier the same day, Kishida continued to coordinate the reshuffles, meeting with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of ruling coalition partner Komeito, and former Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Ryota Takeda, who serves as the secretary general of the LDP faction led by party heavyweight Toshihiro Nikai.
On Sunday, Kishida met with LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi, Hagiuda and other key figures at the prime minister's official residence.
Hagiuda hinted at his willingness to remain in his post, saying at a press conference Monday: "As there are important matters coming up, I wonder if it would be fine to change the person in this post. Perhaps it's better to continue in this post."
After meeting with Kishida, Yamaguchi told reporters that he had conveyed his party's request for the Cabinet reshuffle. Currently, Tetsuo Saito is the only Komeito member of the Cabinet as the land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister.
According to Yamaguchi, Kishida referred during their meeting to issues such as the resurgence of infections with the novel coronavirus and the security environment surrounding Japan, stressing the need to tackle these issues by launching a new leadership immediately.
Kishida intends to maintain the backbone of his administration, according to sources. He will likely retain Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno in his post, while also keeping LDP Vice President Taro Aso and Motegi as the party's No. 2 and No. 3 executives.
The prime minister has already arranged to have Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi stay on, and Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki is also highly likely to keep his post. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, however, is highly likely to be replaced out of consideration for his health.
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