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Japan PM Fumio Kishida reshuffles cabinet

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Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has reshuffled his cabinet and removed some ministers with links to the Unification Church.

The cabinet shake-up comes amid growing public outrage over the ruling party’s ties to the controversial group.

Some high-profile ministers were removed in the shake-up including Nobuo Kishi, the younger brother of slain former premier Shinzo Abe, who has been replaced by Yasukazu Hamada as defense minister.

Key personnel like foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and finance chief Shunichi Suzuki retained their posts.

Unification Church controversy

In the month since Abe was gunned down, a spotlight has been turned on the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) long-standing ties to the Unification Church.

Also read: Japan PM seeks to boost workers wages, defence capability

Abe’s suspected killer said his mother was a Unification Church member. He said his mother was made bankrupt by donating to the church and blamed Abe for promoting it.

The Unification Church is set to hold a rare news conference with foreign media late on Wednesday.

Reports say support for Kishida has fallen to an all-time low since he became prime minister.

“He’s basically doing damage control. What people are really watching is the Unification Church.” Political commentator Atsuo Ito said.

In other changes, Koichi Hagiuda, the trade minister, became head of the LDP’s policy research council, a heavyweight job in the party.

The appointment is seen as an attempt to appease members of the Abe faction, the party’s biggest, though Hagiuda has publicly acknowledged attending an event held by a Unification Church-related group.

 

Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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