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Japanese PM fires scandal-tainted internal affairs minister: local media

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TOKYO, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — Japanese Internal Affairs Minister Minoru Terada was sacked by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday amid mounting pressure due to a fund-related scandal and declining support for his cabinet, local media reported.

After meeting with 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 Sunday.

Kishida told the press that Terada’s successor will be announced on Monday morning.

Terada’s departure is a fresh blow to the prime minister as he is the third member of the cabinet to leave in less than a month, following the resignation of two other ministers due to blunders or close ties to the Unification Church.

Terada, who is in charge of election-related affairs and the communications industry and a member of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s intraparty group within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is alleged to have “falsely reported” expenses to the tune of 1 million yen (about 7,000 U.S. dollars) connected to last year’s lower house election, with the tab picked up by one of his support groups.

Citing a legal expert, an online article by the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine said Terada’s report on his election campaign expenses violated Japan’s public offices election law.

Terada, who assumed his ministerial role in August, has previously been under fire for admitting that his support group twice filed annual political funding reports that were signed off by a dead person.

Earlier in the day, the scandal-hit minister said that he would not step down as a member of parliament, according to JT.

The Kishida cabinet’s approval ratings have plunged, largely due to the revelation of deep ties between LDP lawmakers and the Unification Church in the wake of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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