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Trade and Industry Minister Isshu Sugawara.

Abe quickly replaces industry minister to minimise impact on administration

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s quick decision to effectively remove the industry minister from his post on Friday comes in an effort to minimise the impact on the handling of his administration.
Only a little more than one month after Abe’s Cabinet reshuffle, the resignation of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Isshu Sugawara exposed the danger of appointing those who remain on the waiting list to become Cabinet members.
Sugawara’s resignation also will likely cast a shadow over Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who is said to be a supporter of Sugawara.
At the Prime Minister’s Office just before 8:30 am on Friday, while Cabinet members who had finished their regular meeting headed downstairs, only Sugawara walked upstairs, with a meek look on his face.
“The important Diet deliberation time had to be used for my own problems,” Sugawara is quoted as saying. The industry minister, who was escorted into the prime minister’s executive office by Suga, tendered his resignation to Abe.
About 10 minutes later, House of Representatives member Hiroshi Kajiyama appeared at the Prime Minister’s Office after being summoned by telephone. Abe asked Kajiyama to assume the industry minister post.
In the afternoon, a ceremony to certify Kajiyama was held in the presence of the Emperor, who had just finished the Kyoen-no-Gi banquet.
Given that the arrangement was made so promptly, speculation such as that top government officials had worked out the scenario the previous night has been spreading in the Nagatacho political nerve center, a Liberal Democratic Party executive said.

(Latest Update October 29, 2019)

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