According to the Yomiuri daily, Japan’s former Olympics minister Shunichi Suzuki is likely to be appointed finance minister in the cabinet of presumptive new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a key role as the country works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suzuki, the 68-year-old son of former Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki and the brother-in-law of current Finance Minister Taro Aso, is expected to maintain Aso’s moderate policies of balancing growth and fiscal reform, according to analysts on Friday.
Aso is set to become the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) vice president, the newspaper said late on Thursday, after Kishida won an LDP leadership vote a day earlier. He is expected to be officially voted in as prime minister when parliament sits on Monday and will announce a cabinet reshuffle on the same day.
Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities, said Suzuki, who has long been floated as the next leader of Aso’s party faction, will likely follow Aso’s footsteps and the finance ministry’s policy objectives.
“People at the finance ministry believe the nation’s credit risk will be increased without fiscal consolidation, and would opt for moderate fiscal mobilisation. He will be a minister who goes along with that sense of moderation,” she said.
Former foreign minister Kishida clinched a victory in a LDP’s leadership election on Wednesday and is almost certain to replace Yoshihide Suga as prime minister by virtue of the LDP’s majority in the powerful lower house.
In a cabinet reshuffle, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is set to retain his post, while Hirokazu Matsuno, who served as education minister under former prime minister Shinzo Abe, is likely to become chief cabinet secretary, media have reported. Matsuno is a member of an LDP faction closely related to Abe.
Some key party posts will also be filled by lawmakers linked to Abe, according to media reports, underscoring the sway Japan’s longest-serving prime minister will have over Kishida’s government.
Abe’s backing of Kishida in the final leadership vote was influential in him winning.
Akira Amari, a close Abe ally, will be appointed as the party’s new secretary-general, and Sanae Takaichi, who ran against Kishida in the party leadership election with Abe’s initial backing, will become LDP policy chief, media have said.
New party executives will be announced on Friday afternoon.