In principle, bureaucrats do not get face time with Prime Minister Abe unless they are accompanying their respective ministers, or at least one of the other political appointees. One major exception to this rule is career diplomats, with whom Mr. Abe spends a very large amount of time. Defense Ministry bureaucrats also sometimes see him without adult supervision; likewise the Chief Cabinet Intelligence Officer, a career police department official. Compared to these bureaucrats, many ministers do not seem to have many occasions to talk to him beyond the twice-weekly cabinet meetings, where official business is conducted. Is this telling us where his heart is?
Keep an eye on page 2 of the major dailies, which faithfully reports the prime minister's itinerary for the previous day.