Japan PM appoints nationalist to defense post in cabinet reshuffle | News | DW | 03.08.2016
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Japan PM appoints nationalist to defense post in cabinet reshuffle

Japan's Prime Minister has appointed conservative Tomomi Inada as defense minister in a limited cabinet reshuffle. Inada's revisionist views of WWII history could unsettle relations with neighbors China and South Korea.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe named a close conservative ally with nationalist views to the post of defense minister on Wednesday as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

Tomomi Inada is the second woman to hold the defense head post in Japan and was recently the policy chief of Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan's first female defense minister, Yuriko Koike, was recently elected the governor of Tokyo.

WWII revisionist

The 57-year-old lawyer's nationalist views could possibly disrupt relations with Asian neighbors, cautioned experts.

"Ms Inada is an ultra-conservative politician and this will be taken as preparation for achieving constitutional revision and adopting a stern stance toward China," said Takashi Kawakami, a security expert at Takushoku University.

The 57-year-old Inada supports Abe's goal of revising Japan's post-war, pacifist constitution which is viewed by some conservatives as a symbol of Japan's WWII defeat.

She has also made remarks in defense of Japan's wartime atrocities, including the practice of forcing Asian women into sexual slavery in military-run brothels.

Sino-Japanese relations are already strained due to a territory dispute in the East China Sea and China's assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Cabinet shakeup

A total of ten ministers were replaced in Abe's third cabinet reshuffle since taking office in 2012.

The Olympic minister post went to another woman, Tamayo Marukawa, who was previously Japan's environment minister. The nation is set to hold the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Most of the key positions remained unchanged, with Abe retaining his right-hand man, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also retained their posts.

rs/kl (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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