TOKYO Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed lower house lawmaker Fumio Kishida to the key post of foreign minister on Wednesday as the government seeks to balance a bolder diplomatic stance with the need to repair frayed ties with China and South Korea.
Kishida entered politics after working at the now-defunct Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan and previously served as a state minister in charge of issues related to Okinawa island - host to the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan - in Abe's first cabinet. He is nominal head of an LDP faction previously led by the late Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and has an image as something of a foreign policy dove, political analysts said.
The hawkish Abe must balance the need to stabilize relations with key trade partner Beijing and U.S. ally Seoul - which have been strained by rows over territory and wartime history - while bolstering Tokyo's alliance with Washington and trying to loosen the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military.
(Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Edmund Klamann)