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Wednesday, July 4, 2007 5:54 pm

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Yuriko Koike appointed new Defense Minister

Yuriko Koike was officially appointed Defense Minister at an attestation ceremony held at the Imperial Palace Wednesday afternoon, succeeding Fumio Kyuma’s Tuesday resignation over his much criticized comments on the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Koike is the first woman to assume the top defense post in the cabinet, as well as the first Defense Minister, a post created December last year when the Japan Defency Agency was upgraded to a ministry.

Prime Minister Abe has instructed Koike to place priority on the steady implementation of a final agreement made last year with the United States to realign the U.S. military presence in Japan, Kyodo said. “We hope to proceed with the Futemma relocation while listening to the voices of the local people,” the report quoted Abe as saying.

Koike, a Hyogo-native, graduated from Cairo University with a BA in Sociology in 1976. She worked as a newscaster for TV Tokyo before she became active in party politics in 1992, joining the Japan New Party. In 2000, she changed her allegiance to the New Conservative Party, and finally joined LDP in 2002.

In Koizumi’s Cabinet, she served as the Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs. She was appointed National Security Adviser in September last year.

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