Japan's policy veteran Motegi likely to serve as trade minister: media

TOKYO Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:04am EST

Japan's incoming Prime Minister and the leader of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo December 25, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan's incoming Prime Minister and the leader of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at the LDP headquarters in Tokyo December 25, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Incoming Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to pick policy veteran Toshimitsu Motegi as trade minister, who will also take charge of energy and other key economic policies, media reported on Tuesday.

Motegi, 57, a former policy affairs chief for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), will tackle energy problems after last year's Fukushima nuclear crisis, as well as issues such as the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact, public broadcaster NHK said.

Motegi was a leading member of the LDP's panel tasked with drafting an economic revival plan aimed at tackling the strong yen, deflation and preventing Japanese firms from shifting overseas.

The LDP returned to power in the December 16 election for the lower house, calling for radical monetary easing and big spending on public works.

First elected to parliament in 1993 as a member of a small opposition party, Motegi joined the LDP shortly thereafter and has served posts including parliamentary vice-minister for the trade ministry and senior vice-minister for foreign affairs.

Motegi's formal appointment is likely to be made on December 26, when Abe is expected to be elected as prime minister in parliament and form a new cabinet.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto)

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