Fumio Kishida troubled by domestic discord on international tour

Tokyo: On Saturday, Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida’s struggled to shake off domestic scandals that have sabotaged his approval ratings even as he stressed the need for intense leadership at a time of increasing global upheaval.

In Thailand for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Kishida is facing pressure to fire his internal affairs minister, Minoru Terada, after the minister acknowledged that one of his support groups had submitted a funding document signed by a dead person.

“Cabinet members must fulfill their obligations to explain,” Kishida told a news conference in Bangkok when asked about the outrage. He said he would decide on a prime minister as necessary. Two recent cabinet resignations have already sabotaged Kishida’s support.

Minister of Justice Yasuhiro Hanashi stepped down last week after some remarks he made came to light including a joke about how tedious his job was. The economic revitalization minister, Daishiro Yamagiwa, resigned in October after he was connected to a religious group that critics say is a cult.

Kishida’s approval rating has remained flat at 27.7% for a third month, according to a poll by the Jiji news agency in mid-November. The poll showed that 43.5% of respondents did not support the government.

The domestic scandals have threatened to overshadow Kishida’s meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol over the past week on the sidelines of meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the G20, and APEC. The summits with China and South Korea denoted the first leadership-level meetings in three years, and have come amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, in the Taiwan Strait, and in the East China Sea.

Kishida said the international environment confronted disturbance that amounted to the most terrible crisis the country was facing in the post-war era and bold leadership was needed.

“I believe the only way for the … cabinet to govern stably is by taking these issues head-on, without running away,” Kishida said.

By Archana

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