September 4, 2019 / 3:18 AM / 14 days ago

Japan Economy Minister Motegi front-runner to be next foreign minister: Yomiuri

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Minister of Economic Revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi speaks during the signing agreement ceremony for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, in Santiago, Chile March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido/Files

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is set to replace Taro Kono as foreign minister when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffles his cabinet on Sept. 11, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Wednesday.

As the top diplomat, Motegi will likely continue in his role as lead negotiator in Japan’s tough trade talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the daily said, without citing sources.

Abe has said he would emphasise “stability” and “challenge” in the new line-up and is expected to keep Finance Minister Taro Aso and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in their key posts, while appointing some younger members to the cabinet, local media have said.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Michael Perry

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