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Japan's internal affairs minister under fire over new funds scandal

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TOKYO, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — Japanese opposition parties on Wednesday stepped up calls for internal affairs minister Minoru Terada to step down following further revelations of a political funds scandal.

Terada, 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 released Wednesday said Terada’s report on his election campaign expenses violated Japan’s public offices election law.

Opposition parties in a parliamentary session called for Terada, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat, to resign, as his job as internal affairs and communications minister involves him handling political fund and election issues.

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.

The scandals involving Terada come amid slumping public support for Kishida’s cabinet, punctuated by two ministers being effectively fired recently, one for ties with the controversial Unification Church, the other over a blunder trivializing the execution of death-row inmates.

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