On Tuesday, December 27, Japanese Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. He is the fourth minister to depart the government that Kishida constituted in August.
In rapid succession, three other ministers have resigned as a result of scandals, some of which include money and relations with the Unification Church.
The close ties that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party had with the religious group became public knowledge after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The revelation of these ties has been cited by respondents to public opinion polls as a reason for Kishida’s dismal approval ratings.
Although he has been accused of participating in election law violations and of having links with the Unification Church by opposition parties, Akiba has denied any wrongdoing and said he has no affiliation with the church.
After handing in his resignation to Kishida, Akiba addressed the media present in the office of the prime minister and stated, “There was not a single thing that I did that broke the law.” Kishida accepted Akiba’s resignation.
He continued by saying, “It was a tough choice to make, but I presented my resignation to the prime minister since I thought I must not hinder the debates in parliament. It was a difficult decision to make,” he said.
Kyodo News reported on Tuesday that Hiromichi Watanabe, who previously served as the minister of reconstruction, will succeed Akiba in his role.