Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe enters his official residence in Tokyo on Wednesday before a cabinet reshuffle that has triggered speculation about his successor. [Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo]

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, brought in new foreign and defence ministers and appointed a rising political star as environment minister in a cabinet reshuffle that has fuelled speculation about his successor.

Abe named Toshimitsu Motegi as the new foreign minister, replacing Kono Taro, who moves to the defence portfolio. The telegenic Shinjiro Koizumi, the 38-year-old son of much-loved former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, was appointed environment minister.

“Abe intends to start an open race to pick the next prime minister or even the one after that,” said SMBC Nikko Securities chief market economist

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