Japan has a new farm minister with the announcement today that Masatoshi Wakabayashi will become the new minister for agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This is the fourth farm minister to hold the post since May. The last minister in the position - Takehiko Endo - resigned under a cloud over misuse of farm subsidy payments.
Wakabayashi is the former environment minister and he acknowledged that such a quick turnover at the top of the ministry was "unusual."
Speaking to reporters, he vowed to "overcome this difficult situation" and attempt to boost morale among dispirited ministry officials. Previously, he spent more than two decades in the agriculture ministry as a bureaucrat. The appointment followed quickly after former agriculture minister Takehiko Endo resigned. He quit after a cooperative he used to head was accused of inflating crop damage in order to boost government subsidies.