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Abe reshuffles Japanese Cabinet

Aug. 27, 2007 at 8:18 AM

TOKYO, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has named one of his harshest critics to the Cabinet in a shake-up aimed at reviving his weakened administration.

Abe reshuffled the Cabinet Monday in the wake of July's upper House election defeat for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Kyodo reported Monday.

Abe appointed Yoichi Masuzoe minister of Health, Labor and Welfare. Masuzoe, from the House of Councilors, is a former political commentator long known for his harsh criticism of Abe, Kyodo reported.

Abe named Nobutaka Machimura foreign minister, a job he held under Abe's predecessor, and former Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga finance minister, said new Cabinet Secretary Kaoru Yosano.

"There's no magic bullet that can improve the disapproval rating in one go, Yosano said. "It's through making persistent efforts and fulfilling our tasks one by one that public support will rise for the first time."

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