Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday picked two lawmakers with friendly ties to China for his party's top posts, a move seen to be aimed at thawing chilly ties with Beijing.
Abe tapped outgoing Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, his predecessor as LDP leader, for the key party post of secretary-general, the LDP's de facto election campaign chief.
69-year-old Tanigaki is from a moderate wing of the LDP that favors better ties with China. He was also behind a plan to hike the sales tax in two stages to curb Japan's huge public debt.
Meanwhile, veteran lawmaker Toshihiro Nikai, 75, who also has close ties with China, was appointed to a second top party post. Outgoing administrative reform minister Tomomi Inada, 55, a close conservative ally of Abe, became LDP policy chief.
The change in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is part of a broader leadership rejig, including a cabinet reshuffle, which is aimed at strengthening party unity and polishing Abe's image.
LDP's approval rating has fallen to 43.5 in an August survey, the lowest level since Abe's election in December 2012.