Japan Appoints Gemba Minister for Space Policy

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For the third time in less than six months, Japan has a new minister for space policy following a Jan. 14 Cabinet reshuffle that put the post’s current occupant, Banri Kaieda, in charge of the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry. He is replaced by 46-year-old Koichiro Gemba, a former minister for civil service reform serving his sixth term in Japan’s House of Representatives.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the former minister of finance who took the helm of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan in June, last overhauled his Cabinet in September, putting Kaieda in charge of space policy and moving 48-year-old Seiji Maehara to head the Foreign Ministry, a job he retains following the Jan. 14 reshuffle.