TOKYO, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has appointed former foreign minister Takeaki Matsumoto as the new internal affairs minister, Matsumoto said Monday.
Matsumoto has taken over from Minoru Terada who was summoned to the prime minister’s office the previous day and effectively sacked for being involved with political funding scandals.
Terada’s dismissal comes amid slumping public support for Kishida’s cabinet and marks the third minister to effectively be fired in less than a month.
Prior to his dismissal, calls for Terada to step down had been growing from within his own ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who said he had failed to explain his involvement in the scandals sufficiently.
Opposition parties, who launched the criticism and calls for Terada to be fired, said his job as internal affairs and communications minister involves him handling political funds and election issues.
Terada 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, which is in violation of Japan’s public offices election law.
Terada had previously been under fire for admitting that his support group twice filed annual political funding reports that were signed off by a dead person, in violation of the political funds control law that Terada’s ministry was purportedly overseeing.
Matsumoto joined the LDP in 2017 after leaving the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan in 2015 where he served as foreign minister when the party was in power between 2009 and 2012.
Matsumoto, 63, who hails from Tokyo, is an eight-term lower house lawmaker. His constituency is in western Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture.