UPDATE 2-Japan's Abe to pick LDP veteran Aso as finmin-media

Stanley White
Reuters Middle East

* Abe looks to veterans to fill cabinet posts

* Aso's past gaffes may cast doubt on his appointment

* Abe to name cabinet on Dec. 26 after special parliament


(Adds more detail, Abe call with Obama)

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Japan's next Prime Minister Shinzo

Abe will offer the finance minister's job to Taro Aso, media

said, a veteran lawmaker and former prime minister expected to

toe the party line calling for aggressive monetary easing and a

public works splurge.

Asahi and Mainichi newspapers reported on Tuesday Aso would

get the finance post while Yomiuri said Aso, 72, was also being

considered as a possible foreign minister.

Abe, whose Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its small ally

New Komeito captured a two-thirds majority in Sunday's

landslide, will announce his cabinet line-up on Dec. 26.

The choice of Aso suggests that Abe is looking to LDP

veterans to fill important positions to avoid criticism that his

ministers lack experience, a recurring complaint about cabinets

of the Democratic Party of Japan that trounced the LDP in 2009,

only to suffer a crushing defeat three years later.

Abe's own first cabinet similarly suffered criticism that he

picked lawmakers close to him personally rather than those best

qualified for the job.

When Aso was prime minister, he launched massive economic

stimulus packages to combat the 2008-2009 financial crisis, but

his efforts were overshadowed by gaffes, scandals and policy

flip-flops that culminated with the LDP losing power after more

than half a century of an almost non-stop rule.

Like Abe, Aso has an elite political lineage and like the

next premier is a grandson of a prime minister.

Abe, who quit abruptly in 2007 after just one year in

office, says he has learned from past mistakes and has been

working hard to project an image of a strong, mature and

decisive leader.

Buoyed by the election victory, which political analysts saw

more as voters' payback for the Democrats' troubled rule than a

full embrace of the LDP, Abe has swiftly moved to press his


On Monday, he turned up the heat on the Bank of Japan to

boost its monetary stimulus when it ends its two-day meeting on

Thursday and pressing it to adopt a more ambitious 2 percent

inflation target as soon as next month.

On Tuesday, Abe told reporters that he had agreed in a

telephone call with U.S. President Barack Obama that the two

would try to meet next month, part of a push to strengthen ties

with Washington and give Japan a greater global security role.

(Writing by Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Linda Sieg and Raju


By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes