Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe named Nobuteru Ishihara, a former rival for the presidency of his party, as the nation’s economy minister following the resignation of Akira Amari over allegations he received money in return for favors.
Ishihara, a former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and son of former Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, was one of Abe’s challengers when he was elected head of the party before returning to power in 2012.
Amari is the most influential minister to step down since Abe took office in December 2012. He was Japan’s point man in the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade talks, and spearheaded Abe’s strategy to boost the nation’s competitiveness, known as “Abenomics.”
"It’s unclear to what extent Mr. Ishihara is knowledgeable about TPP issues and economic policy, and how much ability he has in terms of negotiating on those issues," said Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo. "The future course of Abenomics and the continuity of the Abe administration’s policies are uncertain.”