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Japan’s PM dogged by domestic wrangles while overseas

Japan’s PM dogged by domestic wrangles while overseas
Japan’s PM dogged by domestic wrangles while overseas 1

Japan’s PM dogged by domestic wrangles while overseas
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says bold leadership is needed at a time of increasing upheaval. (AP pic)

TOKYO: Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida’s struggled today to shake off domestic scandals that have undermined his approval ratings even as he stressed the need for bold leadership at a time of increasing global upheaval.

Kishida, in Thailand for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, is facing pressure to fire his internal affairs minister, Minoru Terada, after the minister acknowledged that one of his support groups had submitted a funding document ostensibly signed by a dead person.

“Cabinet members must fulfil their obligations to explain,” Kishida told a news conference in Bangkok when asked about the scandal. He said he would make a decision as prime minister as necessary.

Two recent cabinet resignations have already undermined Kishida’s support.

Justice minister Yasuhiro Hanashi stepped down last week after some comments he made came to light including a quip about how “tedious” his job was.

The economic revitalisation minister, Daishiro Yamagiwa, resigned in October after he was linked to a religious group that critics say is a cult.

Kishida’s approval rating has stayed flat at 27.7% for a third month, according to a poll by the Jiji news agency in mid-November. The poll showed that 43.5% of respondents did not support the government.

The domestic scandals have threatened to overshadow Kishida’s meetings with US president Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol over the past week on the sidelines of meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the G20 and Apec.

The summits with China and South Korea marked the first leadership-level meetings in three years, and have come amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, and in the Taiwan Strait, and the East China Sea.

Kishida said the international environment faced upheaval that amounted to the worst crisis the country was facing in the post-war era and bold leadership was needed.

“I believe the only way for the … cabinet to govern stably is by taking these issues head on, without running away,” Kishida said.

Japan’s PM dogged by domestic wrangles while overseas 1
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