Japan PM to sack key ministers over graft claims

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to fire several top ministers who are reportedly under investigation for alleged fraud, local media said yesterday, in what would be the second reshuffle in three months.

Those to be axed, potentially as early as this week, include Kishida’s right-hand man Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno and Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister of economy, industry and trade, the reports said.

According to the Asahi Shimbun daily, the total number to be sacked will be 15, including several deputy ministers and parliamentary vice ministers.

All belong to a faction formerly headed by late premier Shinzo Abe, one of at least five major groupings vying for influence and power within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Prosecutors are investigating allegations that the faction failed to report tens of thousands of dollars raised through fundraising parties, according to media reports in recent days.

Another of those reportedly implicated is former Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto.

Yesterday Kishida refused to be drawn on the possible reshuffle, which could take place once the current session of parliament ends tomorrow, but said he took the fraud allegations seriously.

“I’m thinking of taking appropriate measures at an appropriate timing for the sake of recovery of the public’s trust [in the government], and for preventing delays in government operations,” Kishida told reporters.

PM , Graft, claims, sacks,

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