TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Taro Kono, a former minister for administrative reform, will be appointed foreign minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, Kyodo News Service reported.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will tap Kono to replace Fumio Kishida, who has held the portfolio since Abe returned to power for a rare second term in 2012, Kyodo said.


Kono, 54, will be tasked to coordinate closely with the United States in the face of North Korea's continued missile and nuclear development and China's growing regional clout.


He has a reputation as a reformer with extensive Washington connections.


(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and William Mallard)