Japanese Ministers Quit As Fumio Kishida Faces Trust Deficit
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in the process of reshuffling his cabinet in response to the resignation of many ministers, including government spokesman and close ally Hirokazu Matsuno, due to a significant corruption scandal inside the ruling party, Al Jazeera reported.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno resigned on Thursday, following the resignation of Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister for Economy and Industry.
Junji Suzuki, the minister of internal affairs, and Ichiro Miyashita, the minister of agriculture of Japan announced their resignations, as five deputy ministers were also let go, according Al Jazeera, citing Jiji Press and other Japanese media.
All of the ministers are members of the largest and most influential faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), known as the ‘Abe faction’ after the assassinated former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
A criminal inquiry against the group has been launched by Japanese authorities over its claims that it received over 500 million yen (USD 3.5 million) in fundraising earnings that went missing from party accounts, Al Jazeera reported citing media reports.
Making the announcement at a news conference, Matsuno said, “In light of the various allegations made regarding political funds, which have shaken the public trust in politics, and the various allegations made regarding my own political funds, I have submitted my resignation.”
Yoshimasa Hayashi, who served as foreign minister until September, will now replace him.
Kishida, who has ruled Japan virtually continuously since the conclusion of World War II, battled to control the impact of the controversy in the party and declared late on Wednesday that he would restructure his cabinet.
He expressed sadness that the scandal had increased political mistrust and vowed to act quickly to address it.
Meanwhile, Kishida’s public support dropped to its lowest since he took office in October 2021, plummeting to roughly 23 per cent after the news of the most recent controversy surfaced a few weeks ago.
The elections need not be held until October 2025, as the prime minister has already reorganised his government twice. Historically, a weak and dispersed opposition has found it difficult to gain ground against the LDP.
On Wednesday, an unsuccessful no-confidence move against Kishida was spearheaded by opposition parties, including the Japanese Constitutional Democratic Party (CDPJ), according to Al Jazeera.
The leader of the Japanese Communist Party Kazuo Shii referred to the controversy as “a bottomless, serious problem”. (ANI)
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