The Yomiuri ShimbunPrime Minister Shinzo Abe began work on his fourth Cabinet on Monday following the Liberal Democratic Party’s landslide victory in the House of Representatives election the previous day.
In Sunday’s election, the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito secured 310 seats, or a two-thirds majority of the 465-seat lower house, the level necessary for initiating constitutional amendment.
Abe, who is also LDP president, met with Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi on Monday afternoon and confirmed that the LDP and Komeito will maintain their coalition.
A special Diet session to elect a prime minister is scheduled to convene on Nov. 1. Abe will inaugurate his fourth Cabinet that day and plans to reappoint all incumbent ministers to their posts.
During an LDP extraordinary executive meeting at noon on Monday, Abe indicated that he will lead the government with a sense of seriousness.
“Our party’s unity brought about this result,” Abe said, commenting on the LDP’s resounding victory. “Let’s run [the government] in a sincere manner by humbly taking it [the election outcome] to heart.”
On Monday morning, the LDP and Komeito secretaries general and Diet affairs chiefs met and confirmed that the two parties will work with opposition parties to convene the special Diet session on Nov. 1. Bearing in mind the Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution scandals, the officials agreed that their parties should humbly manage Diet affairs.
Abe plans to retain all ministers from his third Cabinet as he recently reshuffled the Cabinet in August and has placed importance on continuity in his administration.
Abe also plans to retain party top executives, including Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai and Policy Research Council Chairman Fumio Kishida.
The prime minister will also focus on crafting a budget for fiscal 2018. He plans for the budget to prioritize policies for a “productivity revolution” and “revolution in human resources development,” which were touted during the lower house election campaign. The government plans to submit the fiscal 2018 budget along with a supplementary budget for fiscal 2017 to an ordinary Diet session, which will convene in January.
It seeks to reallocate revenue from the planned consumption tax rate hike to 10 percent in October 2019 for such measures as making preschool education free. The government will discuss later how much of the additional revenue will be appropriated for such measures.
Abe will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, who is scheduled to visit Japan from Nov. 5 to 7. The two leaders are expected to confirm efforts to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance in dealing with North Korea, the most pressing diplomatic issue.Speech