Kono is the son of Yohei Kono who in 1993 as Chief Cabinet Secretary issued the landmark Kono Statement which admits the Imperial Japanese Army coerced and forcibly recruited "comfort women" to work in military brothels during World War II.
Kishida, for his part, widely believed to be a front-runner to take charge of the ruling party in the future, will henceforth chair the party’s Policy Research Council.
Kishida had reportedly told Abe he wanted the senior party post, with sources adding that the experience he will gain from his new position will serve him well in a leadership push in the future.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga retained his position as the government’s top spokesperson and Finance Minister Taro Aso will continue on in his role.
Following the abrupt resignation of Tomomi Inada as defense minister last week, to take responsibility for a coverup scandal involving concealing contentious activities records of Japanese troops on a peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, lower house member Itsunori Onodera has been handed the portfolio, in a repeat of the role he held between 2012 and 2014.