Noda, whose DPJ governs in coalition with a smaller grouping, told reporters the changes would boost his government.
"This is a reshuffle that will help the government and the ruling parties cooperate to address a number of issues we are facing domestically and diplomatically and further strengthen the function of the cabinet."
The reshuffle comes as the prime minister's poll numbers remain dreary after a costly battle over legislation to double sales tax.
It also comes as Tokyo is embroiled in a row with Beijing over the sovereignty of a group of islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.
Noda elevated Makiko Tanaka to the cabinet as new education minister, a woman with pro-Beijing credentials reflecting her father's status as the prime minister who normalised ties with China in 1972.