Japan's Fukuda names new cabinet to boost public support

Other News Materials 1 August 2008 13:09 (UTC +04:00)

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda began tapping Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) politicians Friday to take up posts in his cabinet as he decided to reshuffle his government in hopes of regaining voters' support, reported dpa.

Fukuda said he would rename ministers with the future economy in mind amid surging oil and goods prices, as well as the aging population, according to Fukuda's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki.

Ibuki was named by Fukuda as finance minister.

The prime minister appointed a former foreign minister and his former rival in the September premiership election, Taro Aso, to the LDP secretary general post.

Fukuda decided to bring Aso back in the LDP leadership apparently in hopes of regaining popularity among younger voters. Known as an enthusiast of manga and other youth culture, Aso, 67, is considered a frontrunner to succeed Fukuda.

Takashi Sasagawa, lower house steering committee chief, will be appointed as the LDP General Council chairman, while former education minister Kosuke Hori will be named as chairman of the Policy Research Council.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura was expected to remain in his post.

The cabinet members resigned en masse Friday afternoon.

The prime minister's approval rating has fallen below 30 per cent in recent days, even after the expected boost as a result of hosting the Group of Eight summit in early July in Japan's northern city of Toyako.

LDP lawmakers have been pushing their leader to bring more of his own team into his cabinet. He inherited most of the current ministers from his predecessor, Shinzo Abe.