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Abe Shuffles Opponents and Women Out of the Cabinet

SNA (Tokyo) — The following stories were reported recently by the Shingetsu News Agency.

Rolling Coverage: Cabinet Reshuffle

—Signs continue to point to a quite vindictive Cabinet reshuffle, with Shinzo Abe replacing everyone who supported Shigeru Ishiba in the leadership race. Wataru Takeshita said to be out as Liberal Democratic Party General Council Chairman.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to appoint his disgraced buddy Akira Amari as head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Election Strategy Headquarters.

—Satsuki Katayama to become Minister for Regional Revitalization, Regulatory Reform, and the Promotion of Women’s Activities.

—Takeshi Iwaya, who led the campaign to legalize casinos in Japan, to become Minister of Defense.

—Abe aide Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi to become Minister for Okinawa and the Northern Territories.

—Masatoshi Ishida to become Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, replacing Seiko Noda.

—Masahiko Shibayama to become Minister of Education.

—Takumi Nemoto to become Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

—Takashi Yamashita to become Minister of Justice. This is notable because Yamashita is a member of Shigeru Ishiba’s faction, meaning that Abe didn’t exclude Ishiba’s supporters entirely.

—Junzo Yamamoto to become Chair of the National Public Safety Commission.

—Yoshiaki Harada to become Environment Minister.

—Yoshihide Suga, Taro Aso, Taro Kono, Hiroshige Seko, Keiichi Ishii, and Toshimitsu Motegi retain their current Cabinet posts after the reshuffle.

—Of the 19 ministers appointed in the reshuffle, Satsuki Katayama is the only female, and her post is one of the lowest ranking with no significant staff supporting it. Again Shinzo Abe fails to walk the walk.

—Takamori Yoshikawa to become Minister of Agriculture.

—Hiromichi Watanabe to become Minister of Reconstruction.

—Takuya Hirai to become Minister of Science & Technology.

—Yoshitaka Sakurada to become Minister for the 2020 Olympics.

—New Minister for the 2020 Olympics Yoshitaka Sakurada notable for saying in January 2016 that the Comfort Women were “prostitutes in terms of their profession.” This ought to make Asian athletes feel welcome for the Olympic Games.

—Seiko Noda: “When the Abe government was relaunched six years ago, it was said that the promotion of women’s success was put first and foremost. It’s greatly worrying that the number of female ministers has continued to decline.”

—Shinjiro Koizumi given no Cabinet or significant party post, despite his prominence as a campaigner for ruling party causes. Koizumi voted for Ishiba and is clearly not an Abe protege. In the long run, this will probably end up being a good thing for Koizumi’s future.

—Japan Communist Party executive Akira Koike scores another first-rate witticism by describing the new line-up as the “Closeout Sale Cabinet.” He’s referring to the many Cabinet members chosen apparently because they are long-serving backbenchers who needed their first post.

Politics

—Ruling party scores a victory with the reelection of Takeshi Hamano as the Mayor of Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo. He defeated a challenger endorsed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and others. Voter turnout was 32.7%.

—Democratic Party For the People to hold their first regular annual party convention on January 12 of next year.

International

—Five CV-22 Osprey aircraft deployed at US Air Force’s Yokota base in the outer part of the Tokyo Metropolitan District. This is the first US military Osprey deployment outside of Okinawa. Dozens of protesters gather.

—Almost 200 people protest the deployment of US Air Force Osprey aircraft to Yokota Air Base in Tokyo. They argue that the aircraft poses an unacceptable risk to the lives of local residents.

—Newly-elected Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki reaffirms his resolve to stop the construction of the US Marine airbase at Henoko.

—Voter turnout in Okinawa gubernatorial elections was a buoyant 63.2%, only slightly lower than the 2014 election.

—Denny Tamaki’s vote total of 396,632 was the highest number of votes ever garnered by a candidate in an Okinawa election. He won over 55% of the vote to Atsushi Sakima’s less than 44%. The win was more decisive than anyone predicted.

—Signs so far are that the Abe government is planning to dismiss, once again, Okinawa’s democratically-expressed will and to proceed with Henoko base construction as if the elections didn’t happen.

—Even the Yomiuri Shinbun’s exit polls show that Okinawa’s voters oppose Henoko base construction by a 2-to-1 margin, 62% opposed vs. 31% in favor.

—New York Times editorializes in favor of abandoning the senseless “Henoko is the only option” policy and of beginning to listen to the democratic voice of Okinawa, which has repeatedly rejected the “Alliance Manager” Henoko base-building plan.

—Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura announces end of decades-old Osaka-San Francisco sister city relationship in ten-page English-language letter. Yoshimura panders to rightwingers by denying the tragedy of the wartime Comfort Women.

—Pew Research Center: 30% of Japanese say they have confidence in Donald Trump’s handling of world affairs. During the Obama years, the figures had ranged from a low of 60% to a high of 85%.

Economy

—Kyoto city imposes new lodging tax of 200-1000 yen on tourists staying at hotels and other lodgings within the city limits. The revenues collected are supposedly to be used for tourism promotion efforts.

—If Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sticks to the plan, the national consumption tax will be raised from 8% to 10% one year from now.

—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructs his new Cabinet to compile two new supplementary budgets, one for recovery from this summer’s serial natural disasters and another for longer-term disaster-prevention projects.

Society

—Typhoon No. 24: Updated casualty figures are 2 dead, 2 missing, and 127 serious injuries across the nation.

—Typhoon No. 24: The typhoon did knock out electricity services to about 390,000 homes and other buildings in the Tokyo region, but some of these services have already been restored.

—Some towns in Yamanashi Prefecture are still without electricity services several days after Typhoon No. 24 knocked out the power.

Note: There were no separate “Today in Japan” reports issued between October 1 and October 2.

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