Abe Appoints Rightwingers to Cabinet

      December 27, 2012 13:18

      Shinzo Abe

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday appointed two rightwingers as internal affairs and communications minister, and as administrative reform minister.

      Yoshitaka Shindo and Tomomi Inada are figures of the far right who were denied entry to Korea in August last year when they came here to assert Japan's flimsy colonial claim to the Dokdo islets.

      Abe recently hinted at plans to restore relations between Korea and Japan by postponing a government ceremony for "Takeshima Day" -- after the Japanese name for Dokdo -- and suggested sending a special envoy to Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye and attending her inauguration ceremony.

      But his decision to include far-right figures in the Cabinet bodes ill for these prospects.

      Shindo and Inada were obscure figures until they emerged as symbols of the far right with their failed attempt to land on Dokdo.

      Abe looks determined to carry put rightwing pledges such as withdrawing an apology by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono in 1993 for the sexual enslavement of Asian women during World War II.

      He has already declared hopes to amend Japan's postwar pacifist constitution to allow Japanese troops to operate abroad if his party wins the country's upper house elections in July 2013

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