Japan PM mulling Cabinet reshuffle in mid-September amid support decline

Photo: Kyodo
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering reshuffling his Cabinet and the leadership of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in mid-September, lawmakers said Tuesday, with his public support declining due largely to mishandling of key domestic issues, Kazinform cites Kyodo.

Kishida is expected to decide on the timing of the personnel changes while considering his diplomatic schedule after late August, with mid-September being the only available window for the Cabinet reshuffle, the lawmakers said.

He had intended to take such action in August but has since instructed his ministers to map out a report early that month about a series of troubles involving the «My Number» national identification card system, which have fanned public fears about privacy violations.

Next month, Kishida may also face the task of implementing Japan's plan to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea despite lingering opposition, with the objective of beginning the water discharge sometime this summer.

Kishida, who wants to prop up approval ratings for his Cabinet through diplomatic achievements, is likely to visit the United States in late August for trilateral talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, according to the lawmakers.

In early September, he is set to attend an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Indonesia and a Group of 20 leaders meeting in India, while the U.N. General Assembly is scheduled to open late that month, they said.

By reshuffling his Cabinet, Kishida is believed to be attempting to rejuvenate his government's image, a strategy often employed by previous prime ministers.

Last month, speculation had been rife that Kishida would dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap election at an early date on the back of a recovery in his popularity after he hosted the Group of Seven summit in his constituency of Hiroshima in May.

But he ruled it out on June 15, with a lawmaker saying the outcome of a recent survey carried out by the LDP indicated that the party might lose a significant number of seats in the lower house if a general election were to be held in the near future.

The approval rating for Kishida's Cabinet plunged to 40.8 percent, a Kyodo News poll showed in mid-June, from 47.0 percent in late May, with many of the public wary of the government's push to expand the use of the national identification card.

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