Abe to decide whether to reshuffle Cabinet after election

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested Sunday he will decide whether to reshuffle his Cabinet following next month's upper house election.

He also told reporters in Warsaw he will give priority to cutting the investment tax over reducing the corporate tax rate in drawing up a new growth strategy to be released in fall.

Asked if he will shake up his Cabinet after the House of Councillors election, Abe said, "We must deal with the Tokyo assembly election and the upper house election first," adding, "But for now I'm not thinking about it at all."

Abe is in Poland on the first leg of his trip to Europe, during which he will also attend a two-day summit of the Group of Eight major nations from Monday in Northern Ireland.

Abe said his Liberal Democratic Party and its ruling coalition partner the New Komeito party should be able to secure a majority in the 242-seat upper chamber in the election slated for July 21, when half of the seats are up for grabs.

The LDP is the second largest force in the chamber after the Democratic Party of Japan. It won back a comfortable majority from the DPJ in the more powerful lower house in the election in December.

But he said it would be "impossible" to secure enough seats to push through amendments to the Constitution, which includes a war-renouncing article, after just one upper house election. Revising the Constitution is one of Abe's major policy goals.

Article 96 of the Constitution stipulates that amendments "shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house." The LDP-New Komeito bloc already has more than two-thirds of the seats in the lower house.