PM carries out reshuffle
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has carried out a reshuffle of his Cabinet in the hope that the move will help him to pass a controversial sales tax.
Two ministers, those responsible for Defence and Transport were both censured by the Upper House in April and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had insisted upon their removal as a pre-condition for talks on the sales tax. Both have ben replaced along with three other ministers.
The prime minister will need the LDP support because one faction of his own party led by former party leader Ichiro Ozawa has refused to support the tax rise.
The initial LDP reaction to the reshuffle was cool. The list of the new ministers is as follows:
Satoshi Morimoto; Minister for Defence
Yuichiro Hata; Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Makoto Taki; Minister for Justice
Akira Gunji; Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Tadahiro Matsushita; Minister of State for Financial Services and also Postal Reform.