Fumio Kishida, the newly elected leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, decided Thursday on his executive lineup, filling many key posts with close allies of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Former economy minister Akira Amari will be appointed secretary general, the LDP's No. 2 post, while former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi is to become the party's policy chief, sources said.
Kishida, the country's presumptive next prime minister, is also considering ministerial posts for when he launches his government next week, and according to the sources, has decided to name former education minister Hirokazu Matsuno, who belongs to the largest intraparty faction Abe used to be part of, as chief Cabinet secretary.
The appointments appeared to be aimed at rewarding factions that backed Kishida in the LDP's leadership vote on Wednesday while preparing for a general election in November, his first major test in office.
Vaccination minister Taro Kono, who lost to Kishida in a runoff vote, is set to head the party's Public Relations Headquarters.
Amari promoted the economic policy known as "Abenomics" as economic and fiscal policy minister from December 2012 but resigned in January 2016 amid graft allegations against him and his secretaries.
Currently head of the LDP's Research Commission on the Tax System, Amari had been a key member of Kishida's campaign in the leadership vote. The 72-year-old is part of the so-called 3As, including Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso, who are closely aligned and exert strong influence within the party.
Kishida will appoint Aso as the LDP's vice president, according to the sources.
When the new executive lineup is announced on Friday, Amari will succeed Toshihiro Nikai, the party's longest-serving secretary general who has wielded power behind the scenes since taking up the post in 2016.
Tatsuo Fukuda, a relative greenhorn serving only his third term in the House of Representatives, is set to become chairman of the decision-making General Council, the sources said. Both Fukuda's father and grandfather are former prime ministers, Yasuo Fukuda and the late Takeo Fukuda.
The 54-year-old belongs to the same faction as Matsuno, headed by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda and over which Abe exerts strong influence despite no longer being an official member.
Kishida had said he seeks to strike a good balance of young and veteran lawmakers in filling key posts while suggesting he could appoint his rivals in the race -- Takaichi, Kono and Seiko Noda, the LDP's executive acting secretary general.
Takaichi, a hawkish nationalist, does not belong to a faction but was backed by Abe in the leadership race. Her appointment as chairwoman of the LDP's Policy Research Council could put a conservative slant on the party's campaign platform for the general election.
"I am studying various options. I am now thinking hard about it," Kishida told reporters in the morning about his executive lineup.
During the election campaign, Kishida vowed to introduce reforms, including limiting the terms of LDP executives to up to three years, a pronouncement that angered veteran lawmakers, most notably Nikai, a power broker in the conservative party.
Kishida is poised to be elected prime minister on Monday in an extraordinary Diet session as the LDP-led coalition controls both chambers of parliament. He will also announce his Cabinet lineup then.
The parliamentary session could run through Oct. 14 after Kishida delivers a policy speech on Oct. 8 and take questions from representatives of ruling and opposition parties, lawmakers involved in coordinating the schedule said.
Former national security adviser Shigeru Kitamura is being eyed for deputy chief Cabinet secretary, the sources added.