Mon, 06 February 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Japan: Fourth minister steps down in three months

Update : 27 Dec 2022, 16:49

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government has been rocked by scandals involving funding and ties with the Unification Church.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday dismissed Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba.

He is the fourth minister to leave Kishida's cabinet in three months. Japan's government has been rocked by scandals involving funding and ties with the Unification Church.

Akiba will be replaced by former Reconstruction Minister Hiromichi Watanbe, Kishida said.

Why did Kenya Akiba resign?

Akiba is facing allegations that he made illegal political payments to his aides, wife and mother.

"I believe there is no illegality in terms of my actions," the former minister said. But "it is not my wish to see proceedings for the budget and other legislative agendas stall."

"I feel responsible that a minister has resigned," Kishida said. "We must continue to deal with a mountain of tasks at hand. I want to fulfil my responsibility by continuing the work of politics."

Parliamentary vice-minister for internal affairs Mio Sugita also stepped down following Akiba's departure. In early December, she apologized for a number of past comments, including calling sexual minorities "unproductive."

Other resignations:

In October, the minister for economic revitalization resigned over allegations of ties to the Unification Church.

The South Korea-based religious group has been in the spotlight since the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July. The man accused of slaying the former head of government was reportedly motivated by resentment against the church, which has been accused of intimidating members into making large donations.

Also in October, Kishida opened an investigation into allegations against the Unification Church.

Last month, Kishida's minister for internal affairs resigned over campaign finance irregularities, and his justice minister stepped down after he reportedly said that his "low-profile" job only generated media coverage when approving death sentences.

Japan's prime minister said that he had not ruled out reshuffling his cabinet, but that he was "not considering [it] over the New Year Holidays."

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