His new cabinet was largely unchanged with Taro Aso returning as deputy premier and finance minister, Fumio Kishida as foreign minister and Yoichi Miyazawa in the industry minister post.Industry is a key portfolio that oversees Japan's nuclear power sector, as Abe looks to restart more atomic reactors shuttered after the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima plant. The only new face was Gen Nakatani, replacing Akinori Eto as defence minister after Eto declined reappointment in the midst of a political funding scandal.
Nakatani, 57, headed the defence agency - later upgraded to a government ministry - in 2001-2002. "The environment surrounding Japan has been drastically changing, so I was told to prepare security legislation to enable seamless responses," Nakatani said at the prime minister's office, quoted by a News channel.
On top of trying to kickstart the world's number three economy, Abe has vowed to pursue a nationalist agenda, including persuading a sceptical public of the need to revise the pacifist constitution. But efforts to alter the charter, imposed by the US after the end of World War II, have proved divisive at home and strained already tense relations with China.
"Abe and his new defence minister need to tread carefully," China's official a news agency said on Wednesday."The two both advocate a stronger role for Japan's Self-Defense Forces, and the international community should keep a wary eye on them and constantly remind them not to go too far."
Relations, however, have begun to thaw after a more than two-year chill that Beijing blamed partly on Abe's provocative nationalism, including a visit to a controversial war shrine, and equivocations on Japan's wartime record of enslaving women for sex. Abe is to speak to reporters before holding his new government's first cabinet meeting, said Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary who is Tokyo's top spokesman.