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Japan gov’t loses third minister in a month

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a press conference during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok on November 19, 2022.
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a press conference during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok on November 19, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
TOKYOJapan’s internal affairs minister resigned Sunday over a series of campaign finance scandals, becoming the third member of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet to step down in less than a month.اضافة اعلان

Minoru Terada quit over allegations of mismanagement of political funds. He had acknowledged to parliament that his local campaign group had even listed a dead person as its treasurer in annual financial statements.

Other accusations published by the weekly Shukan Bunshun magazine included illegal payments to staff during his reelection campaign last year.

“I just tendered (my) re-signation to the prime minister,” Terada told a hastily arranged news conference on Sunday night.

“I felt my problems over political funds must not become a hindrance” to parliament, he said.

Terada’s exit came on the final day of Kishida’s diplomatic tour to Thailand for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and ahead of budget deliberations in parliament.

The string of cabinet departures has been dubbed by Japanese media as “resignation dominoes” and will pile further pressure on Kishida.

The approval rating for Kishida’s government is barely more than 30 percent, its lowest level since he took office last year, according to the latest NHK poll.

He said Terada’s successor would be named on Monday.

Kishida said on Saturday he expected Terada, whose ministry covers everything from election management to telecommunications, to “thoroughly fulfil his responsibility to explain himself”.

Terada had previously resisted calls for his resignation, regretting what he called “clerical mistakes”.

Terada’s exit came just over a week after justice minister Yasuhiro Hanashi resigned.

Hanashi stepped down after reportedly describing his job to fellow lawmakers as a “low-profile” role that only made headlines when he approved the execution of death row inmates.

Economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa left office in late October under fire over reported ties to the Unification Church. 

The church and its longstanding links to politicians have been under renewed scrutiny since the assassination of former prime minister Shinzo Abe in July.

The man accused of killing Abe reportedly resented the organization over donations his mother made that bankrupted the family.

Revelations of close links between many politicians and the church have also hurt the government’s approval ratings.


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