Japan’s PM Yoshihiko Noda has named a new finance minister, in a reshuffle aimed at revitalizing his cabinet.
Koriki Jojima replaces Jun Azumi in the key post, while the foreign and defence ministers kept their jobs.
Makiko Tanaka, who served a brief tenure as foreign minister, was named education minister in a move seen as reflecting her ties with Beijing amid a territorial row with China.
Yoshihiko Noda, hit by poor poll figures, said the move would help tackle key issues.
“This is a reshuffle that will help the government and the ruling parties cooperate to address a number of issues we are facing domestically and diplomatically, and further strengthen the function of the cabinet,” he said.
Koriki Jojima, 65, is a former Democratic Party (DPJ) parliamentary affairs’ chief who worked with Yoshihiko Noda on the sales tax hike.
Makiko Tanaka, the daughter of the Japanese leader who normalized ties with China, was fired as foreign minister in 2002 by then LDP leader Junichiro Koizumi. She subsequently joined the DPJ and is seen as popular with voters.
Seiji Maehara, another popular figure, was named national policy minister. He had been seen as a potential DPJ leader but had to resign last year amid a row over a political donation.
The reshuffle comes with polls expected in coming months and the ruling DPJ hit by low public support. Ties between Tokyo and Beijing are currently very strained over a row about ownership of islands both claim in the East China Sea.
Last week the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) – which governed Japan for half a century before it was ousted by the DPJ in 2009 – elected Shinzo Abe its new leader.
Shinzo Abe is a former prime minister who, when in office, called for a bigger global role for Japan and promoted efforts to boost national pride.