Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to tap Kazuyoshi Akaba, a veteran lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's junior coalition partner Komeito, as new land minister, sources close to the matter said Saturday.
In the cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, Akaba will replace Keiichi Ishii as minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, a position held by a Komeito lawmaker since December 2012, when the LDP returned to power and Abe became Japan's prime minister for the second time.
Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi has asked Abe to appoint a member of his party as land minister at their meeting Friday, the sources said.
Ishii, who took office in October 2015, has become the longest-serving land minister. Akaba, an eight-time House of Representatives member, serves as a deputy chair of Komeito's Policy Research Council and is known to be close to Abe, partly because they were both first elected as parliamentarians in 1993.© KYODO