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Fukuda reshuffles Cabinet

Aug. 1, 2008 at 7:09 PM

TOKYO, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda replaced 13 of the 17 members of his Cabinet Friday.

Many of the new ministers are longtime office-holders, The Japan Times reported. That may undercut Fukuda's effort to shore up his popularity with a Cabinet reshuffle.

Kaoru Yosano, the new economics minister, for example, is a longtime advocate of increasing taxes to cover government deficits.

Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who contested the party leadership last year with Fukuda, was named secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party.

One popular choice is Seiko Noda, who was named consumer affairs minister. She is considered a possibility to become Japan's first woman prime minister.

Another woman, Kyoko Nakayama, was put in charge of dealing with the North Korea kidnappings of Japanese citizens and gender equality and population issues. Nakayama is a popular choice because of her firm stand on North Korea going back to the 1970s.

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