Japan's Abe administration carried out a major Cabinet reshuffle last week, replacing 17 of 19 Cabinet ministers.
Most of the posts were filled with his far-right political allies, sparking controversy and opposition from the other side of Japan's political aisle.
Amid concerns that Abe looks set to forge ahead with his hard-line policies against South Korea today we go in-depth on how the shakeup would affect future Seol-Tokyo relations with Dr. Kim Sang-woo, Chairman of the East Asia Cultural Project.
1. Abe's reshuffled team of ministers is widely referred to as an 'anti-Seoul Cabinet' here in the nation as most of the posts were filled with far-right, hardliners known for their stances against South Korea. How did you see the shakeup?
2. 17 Cabinet ministers were replaced last week except for Japan's Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Who are some of the newly appointed ministers we should pay extra attention to?
3. Following the shakeup, Abe has said no changes have been made in regards to Seoul-Tokyo relations. Newly appointed minister of economy and trade Isshu Sugawara has echoed Abe saying Japan won't budge an inch from its current stance. How do you expect Seoul-Tokyo relations to play out with Japan's new Cabinet?
4. South Korea is also firm in its stance and view regarding Japan's hostile economic measures. The government is highly likely to announce amended export control guidelines within this week, officially excluding Japan from South Korea's whitelist of trusted trading partners. What changes do you see down the road?
5. Do you expect further retaliatory measures from Japan following its reshuffled Cabinet, comprised mostly of far-right hardliners?
6. President Moon is slated to visit New York this month to attend the UN General Assembly and so is his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. What are the chances of the two leaders sitting down for talks?
7. Meanwhile Abe continues to show willingness to hold summit talks with North Korea although the North hasn't responded once to his 'unconditional request'. Just yesterday Abe said he will face Kim Jong-un without any preconditions. What is Abe's motive?
8. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stressed the importance of a constructive dialogue between Seoul and Tokyo to Japan's new foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi on Monday. How do you interpret Pompeo's remarks? Why does it come now?