Changes loom in Japan cabinet

TOKYO (Reuter) - Japan's Prime Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, is expected to replace the Finance Minister, Tsutomu Hata, as part of a cabinet reshuffle next week, Japanese newspapers said yesterday. They said Mr Hata, in office for just over a year, would leave the government to take over formal leadership of a new breakaway faction in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has ruled Japan since 1955.

The reshuffle, likely on 11 or 12 December, is a routine measure normally carried out at the end of a prime minister's first year in office. Mr Miyazawa took over in November 1991.