Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is contemplating a reshuffling of his Cabinet and the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) around mid-September, according to government and party sources. The aim of this potential move is to bolster Kishida’s administration as his Cabinet’s approval ratings have experienced a decline, largely due to issues with the My Number personal identification system.
Despite no official decisions being made, Kishida expressed the need for careful consideration before proceeding with any changes. The prime minister intends to finalize his decision after reviewing his diplomatic commitments and other pertinent factors. One such consideration is the expiration of the current party executives’ terms in September, which has fueled expectations within the LDP for personnel adjustments.
In early August, Kishida instructed relevant ministers to compile an interim report on the problems associated with the My Number system. Consequently, it is anticipated that a Cabinet and party leadership reshuffle would be impractical before the Bon (summer holiday) period in mid-August, as specified by a government source. However, come late August, following the Bon period, Kishida is expected to embark on a visit to the United States for a trilateral summit involving Japan, the United States, and South Korea. Additionally, ministries and agencies will be submitting budget requests for the fiscal year 2024 during this period.
Considering the aforementioned schedules, an LDP executive predicts that personnel changes are likely to occur in September. Nevertheless, September proves to be a month filled with diplomatic engagements, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related meetings in Indonesia from September 4 to 7, the Group of 20 summit in India on September 9 and 10, and the U.N. General Assembly session in the United States from September 19. Moreover, Kishida must also take into account the convening of an extraordinary session of parliament in his home country.
The extent of Kishida’s planned personnel adjustments remains uncertain. If he decides to undertake a comprehensive Cabinet reshuffle, there is a potential risk that new members could become embroiled in scandals. Another focal point revolves around how Kishida will handle digital minister Taro Kono, who currently faces scrutiny regarding the My Number issues, as well as LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi, who is reportedly eager to succeed Kishida as the next party leader.
The Potential Reshuffle and Its Implications
Amid declining approval ratings, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is contemplating a mid-September reshuffle of his Cabinet and the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The objective behind this potential move is to bolster Kishida’s administration, which has faced challenges in recent times, primarily due to issues related to the My Number personal identification system. While no concrete decisions have been made yet, the upcoming expiration of the current party executives’ terms in September has generated expectations within the LDP for personnel changes.
However, several factors need to be taken into account before any reshuffle can take place. Kishida plans to thoroughly assess his diplomatic schedule and other pertinent considerations before finalizing his decision. The prime minister recognizes the need for careful deliberation and has emphasized that no definitive choices have been made thus far. The compilation of an interim report on the My Number problems, as instructed by Kishida in early August, suggests that a reshuffle is unlikely to occur before the Bon period in mid-August.
As the summer comes to a close, Kishida’s agenda becomes increasingly demanding. In late August, he is expected to participate in a trilateral summit alongside the United States and South Korea. This visit will be followed by the submission of budget requests for the fiscal year 2024 by various ministries and agencies. The overlapping diplomatic events in September, including meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia, the Group of 20 summit in India, and the U.N. General Assembly session in the United States, further complicate the potential timing for a reshuffle. Moreover, the convening of an extraordinary session of parliament in Japan adds another layer of complexity to the situation.
While the timing and extent of the reshuffle remain uncertain, potential implications loom large. If Kishida decides to pursue a significant Cabinet reshuffle, there is a risk that new members could become embroiled in scandals, which could further damage the government’s reputation. Additionally, attention is focused on how Kishida will handle digital minister Taro Kono, who has faced scrutiny over the My Number issues. Furthermore, the aspirations of LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi, who reportedly desires to succeed Kishida, add an intriguing element to the potential reshuffling of leadership positions.
In summary, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is actively considering a Cabinet reshuffle and potential changes within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership. The aim is to address declining approval ratings and strengthen his administration. However, the timing and extent of the reshuffle remain uncertain, as Kishida takes into account various factors such as his diplomatic commitments and the challenging schedule ahead. The potential reshuffle presents both opportunities and risks, with implications for the government’s stability and future direction.