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Minister of Finance in Japan Steps Down Amid Tax Debt Controversy

Kenji Kanda, the State Minister of Finance, has resigned from his position due to the disclosure of his company’s previous tax debts, marking a significant development for the Kishida administration. The resignation, supported by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet, comes in response to mounting pressure from opposing parties and a commitment to maintaining transparency within the government.

At the age of 60, Kanda became the third senior government official appointed for political reasons to step down following the cabinet reshuffle in September, delivering a blow to the administration in the face of already poor public approval ratings.

Initially, the government opted for a cautious approach, urging Kanda to confront the issue and uphold his responsibility. However, as demands for his resignation grew, both internally and externally within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Kanda’s departure became inevitable.

According to Kanda’s testimonies in parliament, a company under his management repeatedly defaulted on fixed asset taxes, resulting in its building being seized by authorities on four occasions.

Prime Minister Kishida has expressed his intention to appoint Ryosei Akazawa, the acting chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, as the new State Minister of Finance.

Kanda, at the Finance Ministry, stated, “I want to avoid impacting parliamentary discussions,” underscoring the significance of maintaining the government’s focus on legislative matters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno emphasized the need for politicians to thoroughly examine the facts and uphold their responsibility, drawing attention to Kanda’s situation.

This resignation comes in the wake of the departures of Mito Kakizawa, the state minister of justice, and Taro Yamada, the parliamentary vice minister of education, further heightening the scrutiny on the Prime Minister’s recent appointments. The opposition bloc, led by Kenta Izumi of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, intends to hold Prime Minister Kishida accountable for these appointments during parliamentary budget committee meetings.

This recent development highlights the challenges confronting the Kishida administration, with implications for both public opinion and parliamentary proceedings.

Image Source: PTstock / Shutterstock

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