Japan's Kishida admits inadequacies in campaign expenses submission, denies reshuffle amid scandals-Xinhua

Japan's Kishida admits inadequacies in campaign expenses submission, denies reshuffle amid scandals

Source: Xinhua| 2022-11-24 18:45:30|Editor: huaxia

TOKYO, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday admitted inadequacies in the submission of his campaign expenses related to last year's general elections, local media reported.

According to Japan's public broadcaster NHK, the weekly Shukan Bunshun magazine's online edition reported regarding the prime minister's expenses, that his office had submitted 94 receipts with no addresses or descriptions of the outlays.

This, the Shukan Bunshun said, could possibly be in violation of Japan's election law.

The revelation of the possible election funding impropriety followed a number of other funding scandals and gaffes that have effectively led to three of Kishida's ministers being sacked in less than a month, amid falling public support for Kishida's cabinet.

Kishida himself, however, told reporters Thursday that the expenditures involved with his campaign were appropriate, but conceded that there were "inadequacies" in the attached receipts.

Kishida, who is also the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said the person in charge of the receipts was able to figure out the purpose of the receipts but had disregarded the need to add the requisite details to the physical receipts.

Following the latest revelation of an LDP-linked issue involving political funds reports, this time implicating the prime minister himself, Kishida said amid mounting speculation of a cabinet reshuffle following three of his ministers being effectively fired recently, a rejig was not on the cards.

He said his cabinet "intends to focus on various political challenges," such as deliberations in the ongoing parliamentary session and working on revising three key defense documents by the end of the year, according to local media accounts.

Pressure, however, is mounting on Kishida to gain back approval for his cabinet, with political observers here saying a cabinet reshuffle and reorganizing the LDP leadership lineup before the end of the year would be a "predictable move."

The last cabinet reshuffle took place in early August, which was the first restructuring of his cabinet since Kishida took office in October 2021.

Whether or not a cabinet reshuffle goes ahead, opposition parties and the public have become increasingly annoyed and mistrustful of Kishida's cabinet, following Minoru Terada, the former internal affairs minister being fired Sunday for his connection to political funding scandals, and prior to that, ex-economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa being fired for having ties to the Unification Church.

The initial blow to Kishida's cabinet support was dealt by Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi who resigned over remarks trivializing his role in ordering the execution of death row inmates in Japan.

Reconstruction minister Kenya Akiba is also under fire from the opposition camp for allegedly misusing political funds, along with a purported violation of the public offices election law, local media said, based on a report in a weekly magazine.

Akiba is alleged to have paid about 200,000 yen (1,400 U.S. dollars) to his state-paid secretaries for their assistance involved with his campaign to be re-elected to the lower house in October 2021.

If this were proved to be the case, this would be in violation of Japan's election law.

Internal affairs minister Takeaki Matsumoto, who assumed the position just days ago following his scandal-hit predecessor being sacked, is also under the spotlight after allegations of a possible political funds transgression.

Matsumoto's political fund management organization is suspected of selling more tickets for his fund-raising parties than their venues could accommodate, sources with knowledge of the matter said.