Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was forced to replace a third Cabinet minister in the space of a month, as scandals threatened to slow the agenda for a government facing a declining support rate.
Former Japanese minister of internal affairs Minoru Terada stepped down over the weekend due to allegations of political funding irregularities.
After apologizing to the public over the weekend, Kishida named former Japanese minister of foreign affairs Takeaki Matsumoto as Terada’s replacement yesterday.
“I am sincerely sorry for the fact that ministers have resigned one after another while parliament is in session,” Kishida told reporters on Sunday after returning from summits in Southeast Asia. “I take seriously my responsibility for having appointed them.”
Two of the ministers concerned hail from his own faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Kishida’s week dedicated to diplomacy, which included his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), has done little to distract from his domestic woes.
Inflation at its highest in decades and a scandal over LDP ties to the South Korea-based Unification Church have sent Kishida’s voter support to its lowest level since he took office last year. That could make it harder for him to control his party and push through key policy pledges, including an increase in defense spending.
An expert panel submitted proposals to the government yesterday on how to bolster Japan’s national security, with plans set to be finalized by the end of the year.
Kishida, who took office in October last year, is also seeking to pass a bill aimed at helping victims of the Unification Church, which has a long list of court rulings against it over its fundraising practices.
The church came under renewed scrutiny after former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead in July. The gunman told police that he acted out of resentment over Abe’s ties to the group derisively called the “Moonies,” which he blamed for bankrupting his family by taking excessive donations from his mother.
A poll published yesterday by broadcast news network ANN put approval of Kishida’s Cabinet at 30.5 percent, down 2.6 percentage points on the previous month and the lowest for his administration so far. Disapproval rose 3.8 percentage points to 44.7 percent.
A separate poll published by the Mainichi Shimbun on Sunday found 43 percent of respondents wanted him to step down soon, while 31 percent wanted him to stay on as prime minister until his term as head of the LDP ends in September 2024.
Apps and Web sites that use artificial intelligence (AI) to undress women in photos are soaring in popularity, researchers said. In September alone, 24 million people visited undressing Web sites, the social network analysis company Graphika said. Many of these undressing, or “nudify,” services use popular social networks for marketing, Graphika said. For instance, since the beginning of this year, the number of links advertising undressing apps increased more than 2,400 percent on social media, including on X and Reddit, the researchers said. The services use AI to recreate an image so that the person is nude. Many of the services only
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