In a significant move for the Kishida administration, State Minister of Finance Kenji Kanda has stepped down from his position after it was revealed that his company had unpaid taxes in the past. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet has supported this decision in response to mounting pressure from opposition parties and a commitment to upholding government accountability.
At the age of 60, Kanda becomes the third politically appointed senior government official to resign since the cabinet reshuffle in September, posing a challenge to the administration given its already low public approval ratings.
Initially, the government took a cautious approach, urging Kanda to address the issue and be accountable. However, as demands for his resignation grew both externally and within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Kanda’s departure became inevitable.
As per Kanda’s statements in parliament, a company under his leadership repeatedly failed to pay fixed asset taxes, leading to the authorities seizing its building on four occasions.
Prime Minister Kishida plans 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, underscoring the importance of maintaining the government’s focus on legislative matters.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno emphasized the necessity for politicians to scrutinize facts and be accountable in light of Kanda’s situation.
Kanda’s resignation follows the departures of Mito Kakizawa, the state minister of justice, and Taro Yamada, the parliamentary vice education minister, further increasing scrutiny on the Prime Minister’s recent appointments. The opposition bloc, led by Kenta Izumi of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, intends to hold Prime Minister Kishida accountable for these appointments during parliamentary budget committee meetings.
This recent development highlights the challenges confronting the Kishida administration, impacting both public opinion and parliamentary proceedings.
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