Japan PM taps finance minister for party post, new finance minister undecided

TOKYO Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:47am EDT

Japan Finance Minister Jun Azumi gestures while answering questions during a news conference after the 15th ASEAN plus 3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Manila May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Japan Finance Minister Jun Azumi gestures while answering questions during a news conference after the 15th ASEAN plus 3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' meeting in Manila May 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Monday Finance Minister Jun Azumi would take up a senior post in the ruling Democratic Party as the premier shakes up his cabinet to prepare for an election.

Azumi will stay in the position until a replacement is decided, Noda said.

Goshi Hosono, the environment minister who is also in charge of the response to last year's nuclear disaster, will also move to a senior party post, Noda told reporters.

A change in finance minister is unlikely to indicate a change in Noda's insistence on more fiscal discipline or a change in Japan's currency policy that seeks to slow yen appreciation.

"I have decided on new positions for both Azumi and Hosono, but I have informed both ministers that they are to carry out their duties until their replacements have been decided to avoid a vacuum," Noda said.

Azumi's new role will be acting secretary general, while Hosono will become the party's chief of policy.

Noda could announce changes to his cabinet lineup on October 1, Azuma Koshiishi, the Democrats' secretary general said on Monday, according to Kyodo news.

Noda was re-elected as the head of the Democrats last week, but the government is entangled in diplomatic rows with most of its neighbors and needs to revive its fortunes before an election expecting in coming months.

(Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Watson)

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