Millennium Post

Japan PM adds China balm in cabinet reshuffle

Japan PM adds China  balm in cabinet reshuffle
Japan’s prime minister reshuffled his cabinet on Monday, picking a woman with Beijing-friendly credentials in what commentators said signalled his hope to move past a damaging territorial row.

Yoshihiko Noda named a relative unknown as finance minister, but kept several key positions unchanged as he seeks a balance of continuity and change ahead of an expected general election.

Noda, whose Democratic Party of Japan governs in coalition with a smaller grouping told reporters the changes would boost his government.

‘This is a reshuffle that will help the government and the ruling parties cooperate to address a number of issues we are facing domestically and diplomatically and further strengthen the function of the cabinet.’

Makiko Tanaka becomes education minister. The job is relatively powerless and has little directly to do with China, but commentators say her appointment is an attempt to telegraph Noda’s willingness to heal diplomatic wounds.

Japan and China have clashed repeatedly over the last few months about the Tokyo-administered Senkaku islands, which China claims as the Diaoyus.

Tanaka is the daughter of former prime minister Kakuei Tanaka, who normalised diplomatic ties with Beijing 40 years ago, and has warm links with China, where her family is held in high regard.

She was in Beijing last week as part of a cross-party parliamentary delegation.


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