Abe keeps LDP leadership lineup, minor Cabinet change expected

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe maintained the lineup of his Liberal Democratic Party executives Tuesday, though he is expected to change lower-ranking members of the Cabinet later this month, party lawmakers said.

The party's general council backed the decision by Abe, who heads the party, to keep Shigeru Ishiba as secretary general and Masahiko Komura as vice president among other key lawmakers. Their terms were extended for another year through September 2014, after they helped lead the party to an overwhelming victory in July's House of Councillors election, to end years of opposition control in the upper chamber.

Other executives who retained their posts include Seiko Noda, chair of the general council, Sanae Takaichi, head of policy research council, and Takeo Kawamura, election committee chief.

Abe has also determined his current Cabinet ministers will remain in office at least until next summer, rejecting voices within the LDP that both ministers and party executives should be changed to let other members experience such crucial posts.

Abe has cited that it has been less than a year since his party returned to power in a general election. But he also suggested earlier this month he would reshuffle the Cabinet after the ordinary Diet session that ends next summer.

The premier will instead change his senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries -- posts to be assumed by relatively young lawmakers -- in an apparent effort to curb frustration among LDP lawmakers awaiting calls for posts.

Ishiba and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga are currently selecting candidates for the Cabinet and some party executive posts in the minor reshuffle.

"We are scheduled to end our work within this week," Ishiba told reporters.

Some LDP lawmakers said the new senior vice ministers are expected to start work following an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Sept. 30.