Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono Photo: REUTERS file

Kono may move to defense in cabinet shuffle: report


Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono is being considered for the role of defense minister when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffles his cabinet next week, the country's Sankei Shimbun reported on Sunday.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said Kono may be tapped to succeed current Defense Minster Takeshi Iwaya following the foreign affairs minister's tough stance against South Korea over wartime issues which have strained political and trade ties between the two countries.

Abe is hoping that the 56-year-old Kono, who is known for his close ties with the United States and positive relationship with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, will strengthen Japan's role in trilateral security cooperation between Tokyo, Washington and Seoul amid the ongoing dispute, the Sankei said.

The Defense Ministry was not immediately available for comment on the issue.

The Yomiuri newspaper reported on Wednesday that Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was set to replace Kono as foreign minister in the reshuffle expected on Sept. 11.

Kono, who has served as foreign minister since August 2017, is the son of former chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono, who wrote a landmark 1993 apology to "comfort women" who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels.

First elected to parliament in 1996, Kono is a fluent English speaker and was educated at Georgetown University in Washington.

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These cabinet shuffles are similar to how Japanese corporations move their senior management around. They dont appoint people with any actual background or knowledge regarding the sections they are supposed to be responsible for, and literally have to learn OJT from the career bureaucrats that actually run the departments.

If speaking fluent English and graduating from an American University are all it takes for qualifications for the position, I know a hell of a lot of other people I would rather have do the job instead of him!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Musical chairs

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yes Minister.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mr Taro Kono, nice to meet you.

No, My name is Kono Taro.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Oh dear, same people continuing senior positions because thir father did it, or grandfather even great grandfather is enough to get you a position in government. Skills irrelevant same old family connections are the key.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Hierarchical leadership. The key in every healthy democracy.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I don't understand English well, but Japan is not in trouble. Isn't it good for the Japanese lawmakers to help Japan? Japan was once ruled in 2008 by the left wing of the Democratic Party Administration. At that time, the nuclear power plant was exploded, and all important Japanese data was sent to China. Since then, Japan has been hoping for the best to avoid repeating the same thing. The Japan Restoration Society (NIHONISIN) is a representative example. As a result, the Liberal Democratic Party (ZIMINTOU) realized that if it was not the far right, it would not be able to take power, and the far right power would be led.

Same with Korea today. Become a Democratic Party government, become MUN president, give money to North Korea, break security for North Korea. I am experiencing the same thing as Japanese black history. Unless it becomes the Liberal Korean Party, the next will be taken over by North Korea.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Like in other countries the country is run by civil servants behind the scene. There's nothing new in appointing ministers with little or no previous experience, as is done in other countries too.

Trump was elected president without a single day of political experience and he's now the guy with his finger on the nuclear button.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

While Kono may not have any hands on experience in defense matters, at least he's a Georgetown grad and not a complete idiot. We had a Secretary of Defense with overwhelming qualifications, but he quit because the President to whom he had to answer was (and still is) a complete moron.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Given his recent failings as foreign minister, is giving him the defense portfolio wise?

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

The reason for Kono's relocation is because of the GSOMIA termination.

As I have explained before, Japan is blinded after the GSOMIA is terminated, and restoring it is the most important pending issue for Japan's national security.

Hence Abe san is hoping that Kono can persuade the US DoD officials to somehow pressure the Koreans and resume providing the radar data.

Unfortunately for Kono san, the US officials are unwilling to pressure the Koreans on the GSOMIA because they are willing to trade the Korean participation of the Hormuz patrol mission for the GSOMIA termination.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

The clown show continues unabated. How does the fact that there's absolutely no more accountability in the scandal ridden abe regime not rub the masses the wrong way? Why the complacency?

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

It might not be necessary a bad move,I don't know.

But one thing for sure is that Kono is a capable and skillful politician.

The flip side is that all this spending on defense won't be a benefit for the local people,the government should invest more in social welfare.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

How does the fact that there's absolutely no more accountability in the scandal ridden abe regime not rub the masses the wrong way?

@Wallace - the Japanese are not known to exercise their democratic right. They are uninterested or disenfranchised to the point of not caring.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

He’ll never get the private jet now...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As I have explained before, Japan is blinded after the GSOMIA is terminated, and restoring it is the most important pending issue for Japan's national security.

".....South Korea’s satellite intelligence, after all, is limited to domains south of the military demarcation line. By contrast, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces have several intelligence satellites monitoring North Korean activity north of the military demarcation line....."


Doesn't matter. Knowing the current Korean administration, they would openly welcome NK forces to walk right in to Seoul with a red carpet since the U.S. forces essentially moved out of Seoul.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Screw up, move up!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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