Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday reshuffled his cabinet in response to a drop in his government’s approval rating. The removed ministers have some connection to the Unification Church, allegedly related to the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“I have asked all ministers, as part of their responsibility as politicians, to review and strictly review any links with the group in question to avoid public doubt and have appointed only those who have agreed to do so,” he told a televised news conference. national level, according to the Kyodo agency.
Calling his new team “a policy-driving cabinet,” Kishida said he handpicked “experienced and capable” members to deliver results quickly in times of crisis at home and abroad.
Veteran politician Yasukazu Hamada has been named defense minister, a key post given Kishida’s promise to strengthen the military budget.
Hamada replaced Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s younger brother. It is apparently due to health reasons, but Kishi admitted that he had received help from the Unification Church in past elections.
In turn, Katsunobu Kato takes over as Minister of Health, a position he held years ago, according to the full list of new cabinet members released by official spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno.
The ministerial overhaul came after a 13% drop in government approval to 46%, according to a poll released Monday by the NHK network, while a Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper poll found an eight-point drop in July to 57. %.
The president of the Japanese branch of the religious group, Tomihiro Tanaka, lambasted the media at a press conference, saying that their “hateful” and “false” coverage constitutes “religious persecution” and a “violation of human rights”.
Abe’s alleged killer, Tetsuya Yamagami, arrested immediately after the attack on the former ruler on July 8, was pursuing a “certain organization” with which, according to him, Abe was linked.
Police did not identify the organization, but local media said it is the Unification Church, to which the suspect’s mother belonged.
“We have never committed violent acts or murders,” but the church is receiving “death threats” and some of its members complain of abuses against them, including harassment of their children.
Tanaka lamented that the current Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, asked members of his government to clarify whether they are related to the Unification Church.
However, he admitted that the church has interests in common with Abe’s ruling Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, “fundamentally an opposition to communism.”
With information from AFP