Japan PM Yoshihiko Noda names new ministers

PM Yoshihiko Noda, speaking in New York on 26 September 2012
Image caption Mr Noda said the reshuffle would help him tackle domestic and diplomatic issues

Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda has named a new finance minister, in a reshuffle aimed at revitalising his cabinet.

Koriki Jojima replaces Jun Azumi in the key post, while the foreign and defence ministers kept their jobs.

Makiko Tanaka, who served a brief tenure as foreign minister, was named education minister in a move seen as reflecting her ties with Beijing amid a territorial row with China.

Mr Noda, hit by poor poll figures, said the move would help tackle key issues.

"This is a reshuffle that will help the government and the ruling parties cooperate to address a number of issues we are facing domestically and diplomatically, and further strengthen the function of the cabinet," he said.

Islands row

Mr Jojima, 65, is a former Democratic Party (DPJ) parliamentary affairs' chief who worked with Mr Noda on the sales tax hike.

Ms Tanaka, the daughter of the Japanese leader who normalised ties with China, was fired as foreign minister in 2002 by then LDP leader Junichiro Koizumi. She subsequently joined the DPJ and is seen as popular with voters.

Seiji Maehara, another popular figure, was named national policy minister. He had been seen as a potential DPJ leader but had to resign last year amid a row over a political donation.

The reshuffle comes with polls expected in coming months and the ruling DPJ hit by low public support. Ties between Tokyo and Beijing are currently very strained over a row about ownership of islands both claim in the East China Sea.

Last week the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) - which governed Japan for half a century before it was ousted by the DPJ in 2009 - elected Shinzo Abe its new leader.

Mr Abe is a former prime minister who, when in office, called for a bigger global role for Japan and promoted efforts to boost national pride.

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