Japan's top intelligence officer Shigeru Kitamura will replace Shotaro Yachi as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's national security adviser, effective Friday, the government said Wednesday.
A former National Police Agency official, Kitamura, 62, has led the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office since December 2011 after serving as head of the NPA's Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Department.
Hiroaki Takizawa, a Cabinet councillor who also hails from the NPA, succeeded Kitamura as director of Cabinet intelligence as of Wednesday, according to the government.
With the reshuffle, the nation's top national security post has been handed over to an official with a police background from a former diplomat.
The 75-year-old Yachi, a former vice foreign minister, will retire. He has built close ties with his foreign counterparts such as U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, whom President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has sacked over policy differences, and Yang Jiechi, China's top foreign policy official.
Both Yachi and Kitamura are known as close aides to Abe. Kitamura served as an executive secretary to the prime minister during his first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007.
Yachi became the first secretary general of the National Security Secretariat when Abe launched the National Security Council in January 2014 as the command base for Japan's foreign and security policies.