Japan: Premier fires 4th minister from controversial cabinet

TOKYO (HPD) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida fired his fourth minister in two months on Tuesday in an effort to repair a scandal-stained cabinet that has cast doubt on his judgment over staff credentials.

Kenya Akiba, the minister in charge of rebuilding Fukushima and other disaster-stricken areas, has faced accusations of mishandling political and election funds and of having shady ties to the Unification Church, whose cozy political ties and practices around heavy donations from followers have caused controversy.

“I made a difficult decision and submitted my resignation,” Akiba told reporters after meeting with Kishida. He reiterated that he has never broken any law in relation to the issues for which he has been criticized.

Kishida appointed former reconstruction minister Hiromichi Watanabe as his replacement. Watanabe’s appointment is expected to be official following a ceremony at the palace.

Akiba’s sacking was seen by many as an attempt by Kishida to eliminate a weak point in the government that could stall upcoming parliamentary work on a crucial budget bill, including massive defense spending aimed at bolstering Japan’s attack capabilities. .

Jun Azumi, a senior lawmaker from Japan’s main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party who criticized Kishida for making other slow decisions on his staff, said Monday that “four (layoffs) are too many and the prime minister should be held accountable for his appointments.” ”

Kishida also replaced Home Affairs Minister Mio Sugita on Tuesday, who went so far as to make derogatory comments against sexual and ethnic minorities. Sugita said in 2018 that same-sex couples are childless and “unproductive,” and in 2016 she mocked those in traditional ethnic dress at a United Nations committee meeting by calling them “middle-aged women in costumes.”

Kishida said Sugita submitted his resignation stressing that he cannot change his personal beliefs while retracting some of his statements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *