TOKYO (AP) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday his son is resigning as his executive policy secretary to take responsibility for using the prime minister’s residence for a private party at which the merrymaking was exposed in magazine photos that triggered public outrage.
Shotaro Kishida (AP, pic below), his father’s executive secretary for political affairs and eldest son, invited a group of people including relatives to a year-end party on December 30 at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.
Photos published by the weekly Shukan Bunshun magazine showing Kishida’s son and his relatives posing on red-carpeted stairs in an imitation of the group photos taken of newly appointed Cabinets, with his son at the centre – the position reserved for the prime minister.
“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 told reporters on Monday.He said his son will be replaced with another secretary, Takayoshi Yamamoto, tomorrow. Kishida acknowledged that he briefly greeted the guests but said didn’t stay at the dinner party.
He said he severely reprimanded his son for the party, but that failed to quell ongoing criticism from opposition lawmakers and public outrage which have pushed down his support ratings. Kishida appointed his son as policy secretary, one of eight secretary posts for the prime minister, in October.
It was not the first time Kishida’s son has come under fire for making use of his official position for private activities.
He was reprimanded for using embassy cars for private sightseeing in Britain and Paris and for buying souvenirs for Cabinet members at a luxury department store in London when he accompanied his father on trips.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno earlier called the son’s party at the official residence “inappropriate” and promised to ensure proper management of the facility to prevent future misuse.