Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda Monday reshuffled his Cabinet for the second time, replacing five ministers out of 18 in a move to win support from the Opposition parties for his bill to raise taxes.
Defence Minister Naoki Tanaka and Transport Minister Takeshi Maeda, who were both censured in April by the opposition-dominated upper house of parliament, were replaced by Satoshi Morimoto, a 71- year-old professor at Takushoku University, and Yuichiro Hata, the Democratic Party of Japan`s Diet affairs chief in the upper house, respectively.
Morimoto became the country`s first non-Parliamentarian Defence Minister since World War II, Xinhua reported.
Senior Vice Justice Minister Makoto Taki was named to replace Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa.
Senior Vice Reconstruction Minister Tadahiro Matsushita of the coalition partner People`s New Party became financial services minister to replace Shozaburo Jimi.
Michihiko Kano, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries was succeeded by Akira Gunji, a former senior vice farm minister.
The Cabinet reshuffle comes a day after Noda failed to win over former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, who remains strongly opposed to the Prime Minister`s signature policy goal.
Noda hopes to persuade the opposition Liberal Democratic Party to negotiate over the tax bills, by removing the ministers who are seen as under-performing.
The tax raise is seen as a crucial part of efforts needed to curb Japan`s huge public debt.
Noda is aiming to increase Japan`s current 5 percent sales tax rate in two stages, to 8 percent in April 2014 and to 10 percent in October 2015, to rein in the public debt.