Japan's new foreign minister announced

41663.jpegJapanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan named Seiji Maehara his new foreign minister in a Cabinet reshuffle three days after securing another term as head of the ruling party.

Maehara, formerly Kan's transport minister, replaces Katsuya Okada, who became the No. 2 official in the Democratic Party of Japan. Yoshihiko Noda retained his post as finance minister, while Banri Kaieda was named economic and fiscal policy minister, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said today in Tokyo. Sengoku kept his job as Kan's top deputy.

The new lineup comes after Kan was re-elected head of the DPJ by defeating Ichiro Ozawa in a Sept. 14 party ballot, Bloomberg reports.

Kan retained the ministers for the key Cabinet posts of finance and defense, but changed 10 of the 17 positions, including appointing a new trade minister.

The new lineup marks "a fresh start" for the prime minister as he deals with a range of issues including a sluggish economy and fiscal problems, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said as he announced the lineup. The Cabinet picks reflect the prime minister's "commitment to push for reforms that would make a breakthrough amid Japan's difficult situation."

An expert in defense and diplomatic issues, Maehara has served on parliamentary and party panels on the U.S-Japan security alliance and other military strategic issues, The Associated Press reports.


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