Highlights

  • Japan PM Fumio Kishida removes another minister
  • Internal affairs minister Minoru Terada sacked over fund irregularities
  • Terada replaced by Takeaki Matsumoto

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sacks 3rd minister in a month

Terada showed up at the Prime Minister's Office late Sunday and told reporters that he had submitted his resignation to Kishida, though he did not say if he was urged to do so.

The internal affairs minister in Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government was forced into resigning over funding problems on Sunday, in a blow to the scandal-prone Cabinet that has already lost two ministers in one month.

Minoru Terada has been under fire over several accounting and funding irregularities. In one, he acknowledged that one of his support groups submitted accounting records carrying a dead person's signature.

“I apologize for the series of resignations," Kishida said. “I'm aware of my heavy responsibility for their appointment.” On Monday, Kishida pledged to regain public trust. “I will fulfill my responsibility by pursuing important policies that are piling up,” he said and pledged to ensure clarity on the issue of money and politics.

He appointed Takeaki Matsumoto, a former foreign minister, as Terada's replacement.

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Terada showed up at the Prime Minister's Office late Sunday and told reporters that he had submitted his resignation to Kishida, though he did not say if he was urged to do so.

“I made up my mind because I must not interfere with parliamentary discussion of key legislations because of my problems,” Terada said.

Terada, who has been grilled over the scandal for over a month, said he did not break any law and promised to fix the accounting issues and had showed determination to stay on. Opposition lawmakers said funding problems for the internal affairs minister, one of whose jobs is to oversee political funds, are serious and demanded his resignation.

“His credibility was already lost and the resignation came too late, and calls Prime Minister Kishida's judgment and leadership into question," Kenta Izumi, head of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said in a statement.

Political watchers also said Kishida's lack of decisiveness comes from his weak footing within the governing party. They say Kishida, whose faction ranks fourth-biggest in the party, needs to listen to the voices of three bigger factions including one led by the assassinated leader Shinzo Abe and heavyweights like Taro Aso.

Kishida chose Terada's replacement from Aso's faction.

Recent media surveys showed the majority of respondents supported Terada's resignation, while support ratings for Kishida's government fell to just above 30%, lowest since he took office in October 2021.

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