Abe appoints more women to senior gov't posts

The government on Monday announced a new lineup of senior vice ministers and parliamentary secretaries, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointing more female lawmakers, his own brother and one of the sons of his flamboyant predecessor to senior government posts.

Abe did not, however, change the makeup of his Cabinet in the reshuffle, in line with his earlier suggestion that he would let them serve their current posts at least until next summer.

The Cabinet approved the new lists of 25 senior vice ministers and 27 parliamentary secretaries at its extraordinary meeting. Some of them retained their posts after being appointed last December, when Abe took office for the second time.

The number of female senior vice ministers increased to four from only one in the previous list. They are in charge of areas such as internal affairs, education, welfare and industry.

The move comes 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 a member of his Liberal Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, became 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, included Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

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