Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was re-elected by parliament on Wednesday, setting the stage for him to launch a new cabinet with a defence minister whose support for Japan having a stronger pre-emptive strike capability could rile China.
Abe has brushed aside suggestions that a record-low election turnout 10 days ago has devalued his victory and vowed to press ahead with his "Abenomics" economic policies and pursue his goal of a more assertive security stance.
Abe will replace Defence Minister Akinori Eto, who has faced questions over his use of political funds, a source with knowledge of the matter said, replacing him with lawmaker Gen Nakatani. He is expected to keep the rest of his cabinet unchanged.
Abe bowed deeply to applause from lawmakers in parliament's Lower House after the results were read. The new cabinet, his third since returning to power late in 2012, will be sworn in later on Wednesday.
Abe's choice of Nakatani for the defence portfolio is a nod to worries about growing threats from nuclear-armed North Korea and China. Nakatani is a former defence minister who is in favour of Japan having the ability to hit enemy bases pre-emptively in the face of imminent attack.
"If you think what would happen if the United States withdrew, we must consider (acquiring) the ability to respond, because we cannot just sit idly and await death," Nakatani told Reuters earlier this year.