Japanese Ministers Resign Amid Kickback Scandal Fallout

(Daily360.com) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida replaced four government ministers due to major corruption scandal. All are members of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), that has been governing the island for decades. They are accused of receiving kickbacks and bribes in the amount of 500 million yen which is roughly equivalent to $3.4 million in U.S. dollars.

Japan’s economy is the third largest in the world and recent reports suggest prosecutors will begin executing raids and interviews as soon as this week. The shuffling has of course remained within the LDP party, high ranking party member Yoshimasa Hayashi, the former foreign minister will replace Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. The other removed members, Economy and Industry Minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura and internal affairs minister Junji Suzuki, will replaced by Ken Saito and Takeaki Matsumoto respectively.

Rounding out the departures are Ichiro Miyashita as agriculture minister and special adviser to the prime minister, Michiko Ueno, who left office along with five of his deputies. Nishimura told the media he understands his actions are now surrounded by public doubt and could lead to a large movement of distrust in the government from the populace.

Kishida is attempting to keep the public from souring on his party by promising to meet the allegations “head on” like a “ball of fire.” Kishida may need to work some political miracles as his latest poll numbers are down at around 17% favourability. The LDP party was put back into power back in 2012 due to the public’s dissatisfaction with inflation and a weak economy.

The bulk of the scandal appears to revolve around tickets sold to fundraising events. The politicians would allegedly take money for tickets beyond their required quota that were not actually sold to attending guests, and then they would pocket the difference. The LDP has been in a leadership struggle since the assassination of former prime minister and party leader Shinzo Abe in 2022.

Kishida had been losing support ahead of this scandal due to his handling of stimulus packages aimed at boosting the country’s economy. Kishida infused 17 trillion yen ($117 billion) into the economy, hoping to help citizens afford gas and other items among rising prices. There is speculation that Kishida may call for a snap election ahead of the scheduled 2025 party leadership vote.

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