Japanese Finance Minister Resigns Over Tax Arrears Scandal

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State Minister’s Exit Adds Strain to Kishida Administration amid Growing Opposition Calls

In a significant development for the Kishida administration, State Minister of Finance Kenji Kanda has resigned from his position following revelations of his company’s past tax arrears. The decision, endorsed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet, comes amidst growing pressure from opposition parties and a desire to uphold accountability within the government.

Kanda, 60, became the third politically appointed senior government official to step down since the cabinet reshuffle in September, dealing a blow to the administration amid already low public approval ratings.

The government initially adopted a wait-and-see approach, urging Kanda to address the issue and fulfill his accountability. However, as calls for his resignation escalated, both externally and within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Kanda’s departure became inevitable.

According to Kanda’s responses in parliament, a company under his leadership has repeatedly failed to pay fixed asset taxes, leading to the seizure of its building by authorities on four occasions.

Prime Minister Kishida intends to appoint Ryosei Akazawa, the acting chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, as the new State Minister of Finance.

“I want to avoid affecting parliamentary deliberations,” stated Kanda at the Finance Ministry, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the government’s focus on legislative matters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno underscored the need for politicians to scrutinize facts and fulfill their accountability, reflecting on Kanda’s situation.

The resignation follows the departure of Mito Kakizawa, the state minister of justice, and Taro Yamada, the parliamentary vice education minister, further intensifying the scrutiny on the Prime Minister’s recent appointments. The opposition bloc, led by Kenta Izumi of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, plans to hold Prime Minister Kishida accountable for these appointments during parliamentary budget committee meetings.

This latest development underscores the challenges facing the Kishida administration, with repercussions on both public opinion and parliamentary proceedings.

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7 months ago