The eldest son of Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has resigned from his government post after photos emerged of him and his relatives partying at the official residence.
Shotaro Kishida, who served as his father’s executive policy secretary, invited a group of people to a year-end party on 30 December at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.
A magazine published photos of them posing on the red-carpeted stairs and at a podium as if they were Cabinet members or holding a news conference.
The prime minister said he briefly greeted the guests but didn’t stay at the party. He decided to replace his son with another secretary to have him take responsibility for his inappropriate actions that sparked public outrage and criticism from opposition lawmakers.
“As secretary for [the prime minister’s] political affairs, a public position, his actions were inappropriate and I decided to replace him to have him take responsibility,” Kishida said on Monday night.
The chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, had earlier called the son’s party at the official residence “inappropriate” and promised to ensure proper management of the facility to prevent future misuse.
Kishida said he takes the case seriously as he was responsible for appointing his son to the post.
It was not the first time Kishida’s son has come under fire for making use of his official position for personal activities. He was reprimanded for using embassy cars for private sightseeing in Britain and Paris and for going shopping for souvenirs for cabinet members at a luxury department store in London when he accompanied his father on trips.
“I severely reprimanded him over this matter,” Kishida told reporters after meeting with Shotaro at his office. “I apologise deeply to the people.”
Kishida appointed his son as policy secretary, one of eight secretary posts for the prime minister, in October. The appointment, seen as a step in grooming him as his heir, was criticised as nepotism, which is common in Japanese politics, long dominated by hereditary lawmakers.
Shotaro was previously his father’s private secretary.
The scandal has damaged Kishida’s popularity and credibility as he faces challenges from a resurgent coronavirus pandemic and a looming general election.
Ohsaka Seiji, the executive deputy president of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, told NHK it was wrong for the prime minister to appoint his son, as he was not qualified for the post in the first place. He said Kishida should have dismissed his son in January, when Shotaro was found to have misused official vehicles.
– Japan PM’s son to resign after public outrage over private party at official residence, The Times of India, 2023-05-30
– Japanese PM’s son resigns government post over executive residence partying scandal, Fox News, 2023-05-29
– PM Kishida’s son dismissed over partying scandal, NHK World-Japan News, 2023-05-29
– Japan PM fires son after pictures emerge of ‘inappropriate’ private party at official residence, The Guardian, 2023-05-29