Outspoken conservative Shinzo Abe is to become Japan's youngest prime minister and the nation's first leader born after World War II on Tuesday, replacing the veteran Junichiro Koizumi.
The 52-year-old Abe, who was chosen as the new president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party last week, is to be officially named prime minister by Japan's parliament and unveil his cabinet later in the day.
Koizumi, 64, remains hugely popular, but has decided to step down after more than five years in office, which made him Japan's longest-serving premier in three decades. His cabinet will resign en masse early today.
Abe, who served as Koizumi's right-hand man in the post of chief cabinet secretary, yesterday gave a top party position to his mentor Hidenao Nakagawa, a fellow conservative and also a close Koizumi ally.
Current Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who ran against Abe for the party leadership, is likely to remain in the cabinet, perhaps again as foreign minister, according to Japanese media reports.
Senior Vice Foreign Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki, former labour minister Akira Amari, former economy minister Kaoru Yosano, and close Abe ally Jinen Nagase have also been tipped to join the Abe cabinet.