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Japanese PM reshuffles Cabinet to promote tax reform

(Xinhua)

15:05, January 13, 2012

TOKYO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is reshuffling his Cabinet Friday to promote discussions with the opposition parties on his proposal to raise the nation's sales tax.

Noda would retain 12 of 17 positions, according to local media reports.

The ministers of Noda's Cabinet resigned on Friday in a move to prepare for the first reshuffle since the Japanese prime minister launched the Cabinet last September.

Noda collected the resignations from his Cabinet members at a meeting on Friday morning. He is reported to appoint Katsuya Okada, a formal secretary general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), as deputy prime minister.

The Japanese prime minister is also expected to replace Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa and Consumer Affairs Minister Kenji Yamaoka. Both of them were censured in the upper house last year.

The new defense minister will be Naoki Tanaka, a DPJ upper house member, local media reported.

Noda meant the reshuffle to promote discussions with the opposition parties on his proposal to raise the nation's 5 percent sales tax rate to 8 percent in April 2014, and 10 percent in October 2015, according to the lawmakers.

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