Fourth Japan minister, Kenya Akiba, exits PM Kishida’s four-month-old cabinet

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Japanese reconstruction minister Kenya Akiba tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday, becoming the fourth minister to leave the cabinet created by Kishida in August.

Three other ministers have quit in close succession due to scandals, some involving funding and ties with the Unification Church.

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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s close links with the religious group were revealed after the killing of former premier Shinzo Abe, and have been cited by public opinion poll respondents as a reason behind Kishida’s low approval ratings.

Opposition parties have accused Akiba of involvement in election law violations and of ties with the Unification Church, although Akiba has denied any wrongdoing.

“There was not a single thing that I did that breached the law,” Akiba said to reporters gathered at the prime minister’s office after he submitted his resignation to Kishida.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but I tendered my resignation to the prime minister as I felt I must not hamper the debates in parliament,” he added.

Akiba will be replaced by former reconstruction minister Hiromichi Watanabe, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday.

Read more: Third Japanese cabinet minister in a month resigns in blow to PM Kishida

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