Friday, November 9, 2018

New Cabinet State Ministers and Affiliations


Vice Ministers
On October 2, 2018, Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe reshuffled his Cabinet. Of the 25 State Ministers in his Fifth Cabinet, six (24%) were reappointed from the previous Cabinet and 19 (76%) are new. Tsukasa AKIMOTO previously a State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, was re-appointed as the State Minister of the Environment. 

Most the State Ministers are conservative nationalists. The usual metric is memberships or affiliations with various Diet Leagues, especially the Diet Members’ League for the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership [Shinto League] (also can be translated as Shinto Political Alliance Diet Member’s Roundtable; 神道政治連盟国会議員懇談会-Shintou seiji renmei kokkai giin kondankai) and the Diet Members’ Gathering (League) for the Japan Conference, [Nippon Kaigi] (also can be translated as Diet Representative ‘Japan Conference’ Roundtable;日本会議国会議員懇談会- Nippon kaigi kokkai giin kondankai)

Both organizations advocate revising the constitution to return Shinto as the state religion and the Emperor to political power. They oppose the current Constitution support of individual rights, women's rights, and freedom of speech. They advocate a moral education and respect for Japan's past, while rejecting any Japanese involvement in war crimes.

Nineteen (76%) State Ministers are members of the Shinto League, while sixteen (64%) are affiliated with Nippon Kaigi. 

Four State Ministers are members of neither League. Emiko TAKAGAI, State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare is the only LDP member affiliated with neither.

The other three are from the Komeito Party: Masayoshi HAMADA, State Minister for Reconstruction; Tomoko UKISHIMA, State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology; Yoshinori OGUCHI, State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. Komeito Party is associated with the Buddhist religious group, Sokka Gakkai. The party has been a coalition partner with the LDP since 1999. There is one member of the U.S. Congress who is a Sokka Gakkai member. 

October 18th was the Autumn Festival at Yasukuni Shrine. Although all the Cabinet Ministers refrained from visiting, we determined from public postings that eight State Ministers (32%) visited. Yasukuni is a Shinto Shrine (a form of animism) located in central Tokyo established in 1869 to anchor the new, modernizing Japanese state to a religion and an ideology. It “militarized” the religion. This Shrine is associated with the discredited “state Shinto” created to justify the Emperor-centric, military state. Many war criminals are enshrined there. Thus, visiting the Shrine is a controversial for politicians and bureaucrats. 

Although Abe appointed only two female State Ministers in his previous Cabinet, this time he increased the number to five female State Ministers (20%): Yukari SATO, State Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications; Toshiko ABE, State Minister for Foreign Affairs; Emiko TAKAGAI, State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare; Yoshihiko ISOZAKI, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

★ New cabinet member
❇︎ Position as State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Abe’s 4th Cabinet

Position First Name Last Name Shinto League Nippon Kaigi Yasukuni Visit (10/18)
State Minister for Reconstruction Keiichiro TACHIBANA★
State Minister for Reconstruction Masayoshi HAMADA
State Minister of Cabinet Office Akira SATO★
State Minister of Cabinet Office Ryosei TANAKA
State Minister of Cabinet Office Kazuyuki NAKANE
State Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Junji SUZUKI★
State Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications; State Minister of Cabinet Office Yukari SATO★
State Minister of Justice Hiroshi HIRAGUCHI★
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko ABE★
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahisa SATO
State Minister of Finance Kenichiro UENO
State Minister of Finance Keisuke SUZUKI★
State Minister of education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Keiko NAGAOKA★
State Minister of education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology; State Minister of Cabinet Office Tomoko UKISHIMA★
State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yoshinori OGUCHI★
State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Emiko TAKAGAI★
State Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Yasuhiro OZATO★
State Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Shuichi TAKATORI★
State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoshihiro SEKI★

State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry;
State Minister of Cabinet Office
Yoshihiko ISOZAKI★

State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Takashi OTSUKA★

State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; State Minister of Cabinet Office; State Minister for Reconstruction Ichiro TSUKADA★

State Minister of the Environment Minoru KIUCHI★

State Minister of the Environment; State Minister of Cabinet Office Tsukasa AKIMOTO❇︎
State Minister of Defense; State Minister of Cabinet Office Kenji HARADA★

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