Kishida Holds 1st Meeting with New Cabinet Amid Political Funds Scandal

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, speaks to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, left, and other Cabinet members on Friday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held the first Cabinet meeting that included the four new ministers who were appointed Thursday following allegations that members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Abe faction received kickbacks from hidden funds from political fundraising revenue.

“Important issues, including the budget and taxation system that directly affects people’s lives, are at a critical juncture,” said newly appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi at a press conference after the meeting. “I want to maintain a sense of urgency regarding these issues.”

Concerning the kickback allegations, Hayashi said: “Prime Minister Kishida has said at a press conference that he would take the lead in reforming the party’s structure. We will deal with it by following his policy.”

The other three new ministers each held separate press conferences.

“I don’t feel a sense of excitement,” said Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Ken Saito. “I just feel very tense as I take on such a heavy responsibility in such a difficult situation.”

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said, “We must take necessary measures to restore the [public’s] trust in politics.”

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tetsushi Sakamoto said, “I must take things more seriously as a new minister and take a tough stance on the issue of politics and money.”