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LDP’s Yasufumi Tanahashi to head National Public Safety Commission

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Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday decided to appoint Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Yasufumi Tanahashi as chairman of the National Public Safety Commission to succeed Hachiro Okonogi, who submitted his resignation to Suga the same day.

Tanahashi, 58, a former minister for science and technology policy, was set to take office immediately.

When asked why he picked Tanahashi, Suga told reporters, “He worked hard as minister in charge of science policy and other affairs.” Suga also referred to his experiences in the areas of digitalization and regulatory reforms as chair of the ruling LDP’s Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform.

The chairman of the National Public Safety Commission is responsible for security in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Okonogi’s resignation came less than one month before the opening of the Olympic Games.

On this, Suga said that full preparations have already been made through close cooperation among relevant organizations. He also promised to make sure that no security problems occur during the games.

Tanahashi has been elected eight times to the House of Representatives. His constituency is in Gifu Prefecture.

Okonogi, also a member of the LDP, is a Lower House lawmaker who represents a constituency in Yokohama.

The 56-year-old, who is close to Suga, served as chairman of the National Public Safety Commission and disaster management minister from September last year, when Suga’s Cabinet was formed.

Okonogi decided to leave the Cabinet since he chose to run in the Aug. 22 Yokohama mayoral election.

Separately, the government Friday appointed Naomi Unemoto to be a superintending prosecutor, making her the first woman to head a high prosecutor’s office since the 1947 enforcement of the public prosecutors’ office law.

Unemoto, 58, director of the trial division at the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, will become superintending prosecutor at the Hiroshima High Public Prosecutor’s Office, effective July 16.

She “will serve as a role model for female prosecutors and women hoping to become prosecutors and other legal professionals in the future,” Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa told a news conference, praising the appointment as groundbreaking.

Unemoto was one of only four women among the 41 people who became prosecutors in the country in fiscal 1988. In fiscal 2020, which ended in March, the proportion of women rose to about 36%.

There are eight high public prosecutor’s offices in Japan — Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Sendai and Takamatsu in addition to Hiroshima. They oversee district public prosecutor’s offices.

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