Abe began his first administration of 2006–2007 by showing strong determination to turn the Kantei into a ‘White House’, telling the Diet in his inaugural speech that ‘he intended “to establish political leadership”.’ 1 His aim was to bolster the prime minister’s policymaking authority by deploying the formal power resources generated by administrative reform to his advantage. He appointed five special advisers to the Kantei, four of whom were politicians, three of whom were women and all of whom shared his views. Each was tasked with a specific area of policy: public relations, national security, economic and fiscal policies, abduction issues and educational reform. 2