abe cabinet shuffle japanTokyo:┬áJapan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a new cabinet, bringing in 12 new faces and five female ministers in an 18-member line-up.

Media reported that the cabinet reshuffle, along with the executive lineup change within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), was aimed at forging LDP’s long-term rules based on a more solid party.

Shigeru Ishiba, who was replaced by Sadakazu Tanigaki as LDP’s secretary general early Wednesday, was appointed as minister in charge of boosting regional economy, a post newly created in the cabinet reshuffle, Xinhua reported.

Ishiba’s appointment was highlighted by local media as the former effective number two figure in the LDP is seen as a key rival to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also heads the LDP, in any future party leadership race.

Abe’s move to enroll Ishiba in the new cabinet line-up was read by analysts here to weaken the potential competitor and Ishiba’s agreement to join in the cabinet was to avoid a factional conflict within the ruling party, according to the media reports.