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LEAD: Kan works on new Cabinet, DPJ leadership lineups.

TOKYO, Sept. 15 Kyodo


Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Wednesday held a series of meetings with Democratic Party of Japan veterans to discuss new lineups for his Cabinet and the ruling party's leadership.

The meetings Kan had included one with Ichiro Ozawa, who was defeated by the premier in Tuesday's DPJ presidential election, in which rank-and-file party members and supporters as well as party lawmakers voted.

Attention is being focused on whether Kan, whose three-month premiership will now continue as a result of the election, offers Ozawa and his allies any key posts in the government or the party.

Although Ozawa lost the election by a wide margin, the votes cast by DPJ parliamentarians were almost evenly split, so some are calling for Kan to include the heavyweight, who heads the largest party group, or his allies in key posts for the sake of party unity.

Kan is planning to replace Secretary General Yukio Edano, who is known to be critical of Ozawa's political style and has been blamed for the DPJ's setback in the July upper house election, according to government sources.

Among DPJ lawmakers, names including Takeaki Matsumoto, chairman of the lower chamber's steering committee, and Goshi Hosono, DPJ acting secretary general, both of them close to Ozawa, have been floated as potential successors to Edano, who took over the party's No.2 post from Ozawa in June.

Education minister Tatsuo Kawabata, who has taken a neutral stance between Kan and Ozawa, is also seen as a good candidate for the post of secretary general.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said the lineups for both the Cabinet and the DPJ are likely to be in place within the week.

There is some speculation that the reshuffle will not be extensive and that only a few portfolios will be subject to change, according to the lawmakers.

Sengoku, Kan's right-hand man in the Cabinet, will retain his post, according to the sources.

Kan has also decided to keep Renho, who backed him in the election, as state minister for administrative reform.

Renho, a TV presenter-turned-politician who goes by her first name, is one of the most popular Cabinet members among voters. She has gained prominence for taking a strong position on cutting wasteful public spending.

In addition to Ozawa, Kan met separately with his predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and transport minister Seiji Maehara.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Sep 20, 2010
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