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Japan PM Kishida plans Sept 13 cabinet reshuffle, coalition partner says

Japan PM Kishida plans Sept 13 cabinet reshuffle, coalition partner says
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during the leaders talk of the Asean-Indo Pacific Forum (AIPF) in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sept 6, 2023.
PHOTO: Reuters

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to reshuffle his cabinet on Sept 13, the head of the junior partner in Kishida's ruling coalition said on Friday (Sept 8).

Public broadcaster NHK showed video footage of Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the Komeito party, telling reporters that Kishida, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party, said in a phone call earlier that he was "preparing for a cabinet reshuffle and party leadership change with Sept 13 on his mind."

Kishida, who is visiting India for a G20 summit, has seen his approval ratings plunge after a series of government mishaps in implementing a policy to integrate people's tax and social security data into a single identification card.

On Thursday, there was further bad news when former ruling Liberal Democratic Party member Masatoshi Akimoto was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes.

"I am very disappointed that a lawmaker has been arrested. I believe that as lawmakers we must focus on the job at hand with a sense of vigilance," Kishida said on Thursday in Indonesia, on the sidelines of a regional summit meeting.

According to the Asahi newspaper, Akimoto denied the charges during a voluntary interview with investigators.

In a poll by the Yomiuri newspaper in late August, 35 per cent of respondents approved of Kishida's leadership, while 50 per cent opposed it. 56 per cent of people thought Kishida should renew his cabinet and shake up the senior executives of the ruling party.

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