In major cabinet reshuffle, Japan replaces foreign, defense ministers
In a significant political development in Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida conducts a major cabinet reshuffle, unveiling a series of changes that made headlines.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida carried out a significant cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, which included changes in the defense and foreign minister positions and an increase in the number of women in the cabinet.
Former Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, aged 70, and one of five women in the new cabinet, took over as Foreign Minister, replacing Yoshimasa Hayashi, according to government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno.
Kamikawa had previously served as Justice Minister when Japan executed the leader and members of Aum Shinrikyo five years ago. They were sentenced to death for their involvement in the deadly 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway.
The position of Defense Minister, previously held by Yasukazu Hamada, was filled by Minoru Kihara, aged 54, who had previously served as the parliamentary secretary of defense.
This reshuffle increased the number of women in the cabinet to five.
Shunichi Suzuki will continue in his role as finance minister in the world's third-largest economy.
Prime Minister Kishida, who is 66 years old, took office in October 2021, but his approval ratings in polls and his position within the ruling party have experienced a decrease.
This comes shortly after a report disclosed widespread concealment of harassment incidents in Japan's Self-Defense forces, with more than 60% of victims refraining from reporting due to fear of retribution.
A report discloses widespread concealment of harassment incidents in #Japan's Self-Defense forces, with more than 60% of victims refraining from reporting due to fear of retribution. pic.twitter.com/CwJUiWcUmr— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) September 1, 2023
An expert panel, convened in response to a prominent case in 2022, has disclosed troubling findings of 1,325 instances of harassment targeting both women and men within the so-called Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF).
The panel's findings also indicate that over 60% of victims refrained from reporting.
The investigation was prompted by allegations from a former SDF member, Rina Gonoi, who came forward with claims of repeated assaults by multiple servicemen, which led her to leave her career. Her initial complaint in 2021 was dismissed by the Defense Ministry due to "insufficient evidence".
The report criticized the SDF and the Defense Ministry's handling of harassment complaints, highlighting that a substantial majority of the 400 individuals seeking advice had not received adequate assistance. Some even claimed they were pressured into withdrawing their complaints.