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Abe to appoint more women to senior gov't posts


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will appoint more female lawmakers to senior government posts when the government announces Monday a new lineup of senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries, coalition lawmakers said.

But Abe has no plans this time to change his Cabinet members, and the new members will likely hold their posts until next summer.

The new list of senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries is expected to be released in the evening, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

New senior vice ministers will go through an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace later in the day.

The number of female vice ministers will increase to four or five from the current one in the reshuffle, according to the lawmakers in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, the New Komeito party. They will be in charge of areas such as internal affairs, education, welfare and industry.

The move is in line with Abe's policy of encouraging the social advancement of women, in which Japan is seen as lagging far behind other advanced economies.

Among other picks, Nobuo Kishi, Abe's younger brother and an LDP lawmaker in the House of Representatives, is expected to become a senior vice foreign minister.

Government offices have one to three senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries under each minister.

Abe's choices for parliamentary secretaries, which are assumed by younger lawmakers, include Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The 32-year-old LDP lower house member will take up a post at the Cabinet Office and be assigned to reconstruction in northeastern Japan that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the lawmakers said.