Japan’s justice minister fired for ‘making light of his duties’

Tokyo, Nov 11 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Friday decided to fire his justice minister, the media reported, after wide backlash over his alleged remarks making light of his role in ordering the executions of death-row convicts.

Yasuhiro Hanashi courted controversy after remarking during a political meeting that he held a “low-key” position that “becomes a top story only when he signs execution.”

“Serving as justice minister would not help raise much money or secure many votes,” Hanashi said before he retracted the comments on Thursday.

The remarks were widely seen as frivolous, sparking a flurry of criticism within and outside the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The prime minister Thursday gave no indications that he would sack the minister over his remarks, even as the criticism surged.

Kishida told the parliament that Hanashi “must play his role (…) becoming aware of the weight of his professional position.”

Hanashi’s sacking signals a new setback for Prime Minister Kishida, who is facing a popularity crisis due to the links of members of his party with the controversial Unification Church widely seen as a cult group.

The controversial links led to the sacking of Daishiro Yamagiwa as economic revitalization minister in October over his association with the religious group.

More damage for Kishida came after Internal Affairs Minister Minoru Terada found himself embroiled in a political funds documentation scandal.

The declining popularity rating for Kishida’s government has shown little signs of improvement. EFE


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