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Abe set to face grilling in Diet


Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has quickly named replacements for 2 scandal-tainted cabinet ministers, and hopes to shift attention back to his policies. But opposition parties are poised to crank up the pressure on Abe in Diet proceedings.

The 2 female ministers who stepped down on Monday were symbols of Abe's policy goal of creating what he calls a society where women can shine. The ministers were appointed in a cabinet reshuffle just last month.

Abe quickly named Yoko Kamikawa as Justice Minister to replace Midori Matsushima, and Yoichi Miyazawa as Economy, Trade and Industry Minister in place of Yuko Obuchi.

The prime minister told reporters on Monday that he is responsible for having appointed the 2, and that he promptly chose their successors to prevent any slowdown in state administration and policymaking.

Abe is apparently hoping to re-focus on having the Diet clear bills on revitalizing regional economies and advancing the role of women in society. Abe regards these issues as the top priorities of his administration.

But the president of the main opposition Democratic Party, Banri Kaieda, said on Monday that Abe should be held responsible for the 2 ministers' departure so soon after his cabinet reshuffle.

The secretaries general and secretariat head of 7 opposition parties have agreed to question Abe in the Diet about his responsibility, and seek debate on the political funding scandals behind the ministers' resignations.

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