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Japan's premier Abe plays it safe on economy as Aso remains finance minister in cabinet reshuffle

Key Points
  • Japan's PM Abe retains Taro Aso as finance minister in cabinet reshuffle
  • But replaces defense and foreign ministers as he seeks to revive public support
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a budget committee session of the House of Councilors at the Parliament in Tokyo on March 24, 2017.
KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP / Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has chosen his new cabinet, reappointing key economic ministers but replacing his defense and foreign ministers in a sweeping reshuffle, the top government spokesman said on Thursday.

Abe re-appointed Taro Aso as finance minister, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, who will also remain in his job, told a news conference.

Aso, who was also re-appointed as deputy prime minister, has held both portfolios since Abe swept to power in late 2012, pledging to revive the stagnant economy.

Abe also re-appointed Hiroshige Seko as trade minister, but named Taro Kono to the foreign ministry post and former defense minister Itsunori Onodera to the defence portfolio.

With his support plunging to below 30 percent in some polls, Abe hopes to revive his flagging popularity with the reshuffle, but the stock market initially shrugged off the lineup, most of
which was reported the day before.