Abe names Inada as defence chief
PRIME Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday picked a close confidante with staunchly nationalist views as the new defence minister, a move likely to raise concerns in China and South Korea.
Lawyer-turned-politician Tomomi Inada, 57, becomes the second woman to oversee the defence ministry after Yuriko Koike, who served briefly in 2007. Ms Koike was elected governor of Tokyo on July 31.
Ms Inada, a four-term lawmaker, was formerly policy chief of Mr Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and shares his hawkish views on Japan’s 20th-century history.
Ms Inada, who replaces Gen Nakatani, was named to the post as part of a partial revamp by Mr Abe of his cabinet after the LDP’s big win in upper house parliamentary elections last month.
Her appointment came on the same day North Korea, a major security headache for Japan, fired a ballistic missile that landed just 250 kilometres (155 miles) off its coast – hitting Japanese controlled waters for the first time.
Ms Inada has a history of irritating Asian neighbours such as China and South Korea.
She has been a regular visitor to the contentious Yasukuni war shrine in Tokyo and has played a leading role in an LDP study group launched last year to review Japan’s history, reportedly taking up contentious issues, such as the Nanjing massacre and the Tokyo war crimes trials.
In 2011 she and two other conservative Japanese politicians had planned to visit Ulleung island, the closest South Korean territory to the Seoul controlled Dokdo islands in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), which are known in Japan as Takeshima. –
New Defence Minister Tomomi Inada has irritated China and South Korea.