Japanese PM Naoto Kan announces cabinet reshuffle

Prime Minister Naoto Kan. 16 Sept 2010
Image caption PM Naoto Kan wants to rein in public spending

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has announced a new cabinet, three days after being re-elected as leader of the governing Democratic Party of Japan.

Analysts say the reshuffle is aimed at boosting public support for the government.

Yoshihiko Noda remains in the key post of finance minister.

The new economics minister is Banri Kaieda, who backed Mr Kan's rival for the party leadership - veteran MP Ichiro Ozawa.

Nearly half of Japan's lawmakers voted for Mr Ozawa in the leadership contest and Mr Kaieda's appointment is seen as an attempt to unify his fractured party.

Seiji Maehara is the new foreign minister. He takes over amid a row with China over the arrest of the skipper of a Chinese fishing boat which collided with Japanese patrol boats near disputed islands.

Mr Maehara, the former transport minister, replaced Katsuya Okada, who left to become secretary general of the DPJ.

Shozaburo Jimi was retained in financial services.

Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa will stay in his post, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku.

Yen intervention

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Noda oversaw Japan's first intervention in the currency markets in six years to stem a rise in the yen and protect the country's export-reliant economy.

He repeated on Friday that Tokyo was ready to intervene again if necessary.

Prime Minister Kan took office in June, and has said he wants to rein in spending and curb Japan's massive public debt.

However, he faces a struggle in parliament because he does not have a majority in the upper house.

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