Japan‘s Home Affairs Minister Minoru Terada was sacked by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday amid mounting pressure over a funding scandal and declining support for his cabinet, local media reported.
After meeting Kishida at the prime minister’s official residence, Terada told reporters that he did not want to be an obstacle to the government’s legislative efforts during the ongoing parliamentary session, Kyodo News reported on Sunday.
Kishida told reporters that Terada’s successor will be announced Monday morning.
Terada’s departure is another blow for the prime minister, as he is the third cabinet member to leave in less than a month, following the resignation of two other ministers due to blunders or close ties to the Church of the Unification.
Terada, who is in charge of election and communications industry affairs and a member of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s intraparty group within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is alleged to have “falsely reported” spending for a sum of 1 million yen (about 7,000 US dollars) related to last year’s lower house elections, with the bill being paid by one of his support groups.
Citing a legal expert, an online article in the weekly Shukan Bunshun magazine said Terada’s report on his election campaign spending violated Japan’s public office election law.
Terada, who took up his ministerial post in August, has previously been criticized for admitting that his support group twice submitted annual political finance reports that were signed by a deceased person.
Earlier in the day, the scandal-hit minister said he would not resign as a member of parliament, according to the Japan Times.
Approval ratings for Kishida’s cabinet have plummeted, largely due to the revelation of deep ties between LDP lawmakers and the Unification Church following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. ■