Japan was intrigued and a bit surprised by President Carter's Cabinet reshuffling but appeared to feel it would bring no significant changes in Japanese-American relations.

Japanese officials observed that the rapid series of new appointments in Washington did not affect defense or foreign policy. They were inclined to attribute them to Carter's political needs of the moment.

The impression of one well-informed government official was that Carter wanted to make a display of strong leadership and sweep the stage clean in preparation for the presidential election next year.

Within the Japanese government, the official said, there was no tendency to think the changes reflected any great disorder or instability in the administration. Japanese are accustomed to frequent almost annual turnovers in the Cabinet under their parliamentary form of government, he observed.

The Japanese press given prominent display to stories about the impending Cabinet shapeup and the elevation of presidential assistant Hamiliton Jordan to chief of staff at the White House.

Some editorials described it as an attempt by Carter to create a fresh mood for his troubled administration as the U.S. election approaches.

One leading newspaper, the yomiuri, expressed doubt that such changes would help solve the administration's most pressing problems, such as winning Semate approval of SALT II and gaining support for the new energy policies.