Abe appoints China-friendly lawmakers to key party postsUpdated: 2014-09-03 16:35:31 (KST)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe carried out a Cabinet reshuffle on this Wednesday -- that's a first since returning to office in December 2012.
In an apparent bid to strengthen party unity and improve ties with China, Abe tapped two veteran lawmakers with close ties to Beijing, to key party posts.
While retaining his core ministers, Abe appointed five women to leadership positions, the largest-ever number of female Cabinet members.
( )Yuko Obuchi, the daughter of a former prime minister, was named the new trade minister,.. and former Gender Equality Minister ( )Sanae Takaichi will take over as communications minister.
The reshuffle comes with Prime Minister Abe's approval ratings dipping to around 50 percent and follows his challenge to corporations to raise their proportion of women managers to 30 percent.