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Kishida set to tap former education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to be Japan’s top diplomat

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has decided to appoint former education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi as his new foreign minister, a source close to the matter said Saturday.

The appointment comes after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party officially named Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s most recent top diplomat, as its new secretary-general on Thursday. Kishida plans to officially name Hayashi to the post when he launches his new Cabinet on Wednesday.

Hayashi, 60, has served in a number of ministerial posts, including stints as education minister and defense chief.

Parliament is set to convene a special session on Wednesday to choose the country’s next prime minister after the latest general election, with Kishida’s new Cabinet set to be launched the same day.

The Harvard-educated Hayashi — who speaks fluent English — is a senior member of Kishida’s LDP faction and made the move to the powerful Lower House with a win in Sunday’s poll after serving in the Diet’s upper chamber since 1995.

Observers say his appointment indicates the new prime minister’s commitment to bolstering the U.S.-Japan alliance.

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