Stepping in are Ibuki Bunmei as secretary-general (vacating the education portfolio) and, coming in from the cold, Tanigaki Sadakazu as PARC chairman.
I can’t say that the new party leadership is surprising, and I’m not altogether sure it’s an improvement. Competent, maybe, and sure to do the bidding of Mr. Fukuda — but I guess that’s what counts.
UPDATE — I mistakenly omitted the appointment of Koga Makoto as the election strategy chairman, meaning that, as MTC points out, the Fukuda cabinet has become a “faction head employment agency.” All but three faction heads (including Aso) are now in either the cabinet or the LDP leadership. I’m not sure what difference it will make, if any. It certainly makes it harder for Mr. Fukuda to present himself as standing for a new LDP, as the DPJ has hastened to note. But will it mean that Mr. Fukuda is excessively deferential to factional interests?