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Japanese Cabinet Reshuffled; Koriki Jojima New Finance Minister

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday replaced more than half of his Cabinet Ministers, bringing Koriki Jojima, former Diet (Parliament) Affairs Chief of the Ruling Democratic Party Of Japan (DPJ), as Finance Minister.

Noda retained eight of his Cabinet colleagues, including Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, Trade & Industry Minister Yukio Edano and Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura in his third Cabinet reshuffle since he came to power an year ago.

Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada will continue as Social Security & Tax Reform as well as Administrative Reform Minister. Satoshi Morimoto will also remain as Defense Minister, Japanese media reported.

Former DPJ acting Secretary-General Shinji Tarutoko will be the new Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications. He will also double as Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Minister. Former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka has come back to the Cabinet as Education Minister.

Former DPJ policy chief Seiji Maehara was appointed Minister for National Policy, Economic Affairs & Fiscal Policy. Mikio Shimoji, Secretary-General of the junior coalition partner People's New Party, will take over as Minister for Postal Reform & Disaster Management.

All existing Ministers tendered their resignations ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle. The new Ministers will be inaugurated after an attestation ceremony at the Imperial Palace on Monday evening.

Announcing the reshuffle, Noda told a news conference in Tokyo that he had been carefully considering personnel changes since his re-election as DPJ President last month.

He said the reshuffle was undertaken with the aim of deepening collaboration within the government and ruling parties to better tackle mounting issues at home and abroad.

Referring to Japan's territorial disputes with South Korea and China, Noda reiterated Japan's position that the Takeshima islands in the Sea of Japan were Japanese territory, both historically and under international law. He noted that the islands were effectively controlled by South Korea, which refused to jointly bring the dispute before the International Court of Justice. Japan's stance is to settle the matter once and for all through the court, he added.

On dispute on the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Noda said the islands were "inherent Japanese territory," both historically and under international law. Since Japan actually controls the islands, no territorial issue exists, he said and stressed the importance of seeking ways to ease tensions with China through dialog.

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