Japanese PM sacks third minister in a month

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sacked his interior minister on Sunday over funding irregularities, a blow to his scandal-prone cabinet that has already lost two ministers in a month.

Home Affairs Minister Minoru Terada has been criticized for several accounting and financial irregularities. In one, he admitted that one of his support groups had submitted accounting documents bearing the signature of a deceased person.

“I apologize for the string of resignations,” Kishida said. “I am aware of my heavy responsibility for their appointment.” He told reporters he would announce Terada’s replacement on Monday.

Terada reported to the prime minister’s office and told reporters that he had tendered his resignation to Kishida, although he did not say he had been asked to do so.

“I made my decision because I must not interfere with parliamentary discussions on key legislation because of my issues,” Terada said.

Terada, who has been grilled on the scandal for more than a month, said his feelings were swayed by his hope to contribute to the Kishida firm while fearing he would cause trouble due to his funding issues.

Kishida summoned Terada to his office and asked him to resign, national television NHK reported. Kishida, when asked last Friday about a possible dismissal, did not defend Terada and only said he would make his own decision. Kishida said on Sunday he believed Terada tendered his resignation in response to the comment he made in Bangkok after the Asia-Pacific economic cooperation summit concluded.

Terada said he broke no laws, promised to fix accounting issues and showed his determination to stay. Opposition lawmakers have said funding problems for the Home Secretary, whose job it is to oversee political funds, are serious and demanded his resignation.

Recent media polls also showed that the majority of those polled supported Terada’s resignation.

His dismissal is a further blow to Kishida’s Cabinet already reeling from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s close ties to the Unification Church, which has been accused of problematic recruitment and brainwashing of followers for they make huge donations, often breaking up their families.

The sacking of Terada, a member of Kishida’s faction in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is seen as further embarrassment and a blow to Kishida’s weakened grip on power.

Economic Revitalization Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa resigned on October 24 after being criticized for failing to explain his ties to the Unification Church, sparking what has become known as the “domino of resignation” from the Kishida cabinet.

Terada’s departure comes just 10 days after Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi was forced to resign following his remark that his work is low-key and only makes the news when he signs the death sentence.

Kishida, whose belated decision to sack the justice minister, had to postpone his November 11 departure for three Asian summits, drawing criticism from opposition lawmakers and political observers for their indecisiveness and lack of leadership.

Kishida returned to Tokyo on Saturday after a nine-day trip and apparently came under pressure from his ruling party leaders to make a quick decision on Terada before talks on key legislation resume on Monday.

Kishida’s ruling party is due to pass the second supplementary budget through March in the current parliamentary session, while finalizing work on a new national security strategy and medium to long-term defense guidelines by the end of the year. end of the year.

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