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Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012

Opposition raps new Cabinet as inexperienced

Kyodo

Opposition parties criticized Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's reshuffling of 10 Cabinet posts on Monday, saying the new members aren't qualified for their jobs.

The reshuffle included the appointment of former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, who is popular among the public for her sharp tongue, as education minister.

Shigeru Ishiba, secretary general of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, questioned Noda's selection of Tanaka and other ministers.

"I wonder why these people are appointed as ministers. This lineup does not show (Noda's) intention to handle matters of state," Ishiba said.

As for the appointment of Tanaka as minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, he said, "I doubt whether she has an appropriate insight into education and science administration. She may have been appointed as a minister to send a message to China, but why this portfolio?"

Noda apparently decided to bring Tanaka into the Cabinet in the hope that she can help improve ties with China, which have been worsening due to the nationalization last month of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands.

Tanaka has personal connections with Chinese leaders through her father, former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, who normalized Japan's diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1972.

Tetsuo Saito, acting secretary general of New Komeito, said the reshuffle has "once again revealed a lack of talent within the Democratic Party of Japan."

Saito said he believes Noda picked Tanaka and outspoken former foreign and transport minister Seiji Maehara as new members of his Cabinet to win public support in the run-up to the next Lower House election.

Former DPJ policy chief Maehara was appointed as national policy minister.

Saito and Japanese Communist Party Diet affairs chief Keiji Kokuta called on Noda to dissolve the Lower House as soon as possible for a snap general election.

Kokuta said Noda has named as ministers those who advocate his key policies, such as the consumption tax hike.



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