Four Japanese ministers resigned this Thursday, after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that he intended to address a financial fraud scandal within the party he leads, reports reported. media locations.
“I have submitted my resignation to the prime minister”, declared this morning Kishida’s right-hand man, the general secretary (with ministerial status) and government spokesman, Hirokazu Matsuno, referring to the suspicions he is the target of.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of Internal Affairs Junji Suzuki and Minister of Agriculture Ichiro Miyashita also resigned, along with five vice ministers and other officials, Matsuno announced.
“Public distrust is centered on me in relation to political funds, which is leading to distrust towards the government. As an investigation is underway, I thought I should clarify things”, explained Yasutoshi Nishimura to journalists.
According to the press, Japanese prosecutors are investigating suspicions of fraud against dozens of members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP, conservative right), which has governed the country almost uninterruptedly since 1955.
Japanese media outlets have pointed out that these members are suspected of not having declared the equivalent of several million euros collected through the sale of tickets to fundraising events, which the LDP will have paid them.
Investigators are mainly interested in members of the party’s largest internal faction, led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated last year.
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These will have received around 500 million yen (3.2 million euros) over a period of five years, until 2022.
Kishida, who considered it “extremely regrettable that the situation has given rise to public distrust”, promised to “become a ball of fire to restore confidence in the government”, announcing that he would “quickly make appointments”.
The Japanese prime minister is preparing to replace not only the three resigning ministers, but also the general secretary and government spokesman, Hirokazu Matsuno, the press noted.
No total, nine ministers and deputy ministers will be affected by the reshuffle.
All the ministers to be replaced belong to the “Abe faction”, although the scandal is said to also affect members of Kishida’s side, the Japanese media added.
Even before this scandal, the popularity of Kishida, 66, was at a low ebb, notably due to persistent inflation and the fall of the yen, resulting in a drop in the purchasing power of Japanese families, despite the government’s announcement last month that of a new fiscal stimulus plan.