Monday, August 27, 2007

The adults are back?

The new cabinet appointments have been dribbling out over the course of the afternoon — apologies for, literally, being out to lunch — and the first impression I get is that the collective experience of the new Abe cabinet is of experience and competence. And while Abe may have made it a point not to take the recommendations of the factions, it appears that appointments have been distributed among the factions.

Also of interest is the number of ministers who left in the 1993 Ozawa rebellion and then drifted back to the LDP, much like now former Defense Minister Koike.

I do not expect that this cabinet will be as prone to the amateur mistakes and gaffes of the first Abe Cabinet, but like Jun Okumura, I don't think this is a cabinet good for much more than muddling through. The only question is how long the muddle will last.

Here is the roster:

Chief Cabinet Secretary (aka, the prime minister's prime minister) — Yosano Kaoru (69, no faction), MITI minister under Obuchi, first elected in 1972

Foreign Affairs — Machimura Nobutaka (62, Machimura faction), former foreign minister and leader of the faction to which Abe belongs; not much surprise here

Finance — Nukaga Fukushiro (63, Tsushima faction), JDA chief under Obuchi and again under Koizumi (not exactly clear what finance experience Nukaga brings to the table)

Health and Welfare — Masuzoe Yoichi (58, UH, no faction), Todai professor, TV commentator, and outspoken critic of Abe in the aftermath of the election

Defense — Komura Masahiko (65, Komura faction), opponent of Koizumi, foreign minister under Obuchi who said "No rice support without resolution to the abductions issue"

Justice — Hatoyama Kunio (58, Tsushima faction), member of the Hatoyama clan (brother of Yukio, DPJ secretary-general), onetime LDP rebel who served in the Hata Cabinet and journeyed back to the LDP

Environment — Katashita Ichiro (58, Tsushima faction), former member of Ozawa's New Frontier party, joined the LDP in 1997

Internal Affairs — Masuda Hiroya (55, non-Diet member), former governor of Iwate

Agriculture — Endo Takehiko (68, Yamasaki faction), first elected in 1986 and unusually does not have a record of heading LDP agriculture policy committees and subcommittees

Public Safety — Izumi Shinya (70, UH, Nikai faction), elected in 1992 to the Upper House as an LDP candidate, he left for Hosokawa's JRP, and then Ozawa's NFP and Liberal Party before joining the Conservative Party and then returning to the LDP in 2003

Okinawa/Northern Territories — Kishida Fumio (50, Koga faction), youngest of the new appointees, serving in his first cabinet

Child policy — Kamikawa Yoko (54, Koga faction), serving in her first cabinet

MEXT Minister Ibuki, METI Minister Amari, Transport Minister Fuyushiba (Komeito), Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe, Special Cabinet Minister Ota (non-Diet) remain in their posts.

2 comments:

Tom said...

How come no job for Ishiba Shigeru? Wrong faction? Did he anger Abe in some way?

I thought he did a good job as JDA chief during the Koizumi administration.

Japan Observer said...

He has probably been the single loudest LDP critic of Abe since the election, insistently demanding his resignation.

Apparently there was a quota on critics, and Masuzoe filled it.