September 04, 2014 08:05
Five women have been named to Japan's new Cabinet, underscoring Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's commitment to better utilizing women to help revitalize the economy.
The new 18-member lineup has more female members than any Japanese Cabinet since 2001. It includes more than the outgoing Cabinet, which had just two female ministers.
Prime Minister Abe has said he wants women to make up 30 percent of Japan's political and business leaders by 2020, to help address Japan's worsening shortage of workers.
Before the move was announced Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said empowering women is a crucial part of Abe's government.
"We believe a positive environment for women is a pillar of our government and we do what we promise to do. I believe that is the policy behind the prime minister's new Cabinet," said Suga.
Abe retained several key ministers, including Finance Minster Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and Suga.
It is the first Cabinet reshuffle for Abe, who has seen his popularity fall to around 50 percent, down from about 60 percent, since he took office in late 2012.
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