TOKYO Incoming Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might ask upper house lawmaker Yoriko Kawaguchi to return for another stint as foreign minister, Kyodo reported on Monday.
Japan's next foreign minister will serve against a backdrop of rising tensions with China, over a territorial dispute involving uninhabited isles in the East China Sea. Abe has called for a tougher stance toward China.
Abe is now deciding on the lineup for his Cabinet, which is likely to be formally inaugurated on Wednesday, Kyodo said.
Kawaguchi, a career diplomat, served as foreign minister from 2002-2004 under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and she also served as environment minister in 2001 under Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.
Some members of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, which swept to victory in Japan's December 16 election, favor giving the foreign minister post to former financial services minister Toshimitsu Motegi or to former LDP secretary general Nobuteru Ishihara, the Kyodo report said.
Motegi is also being considered as a candidate for economy, trade and industry minister or internal affairs and communications minister.
Abe is likely to tap former defense minister Yuriko Koike as LDP policy chief, a separate Kyodo report said.
(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Michael Perry)