TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to reshuffle his cabinet on Sept. 13, the head of the junior partner in Kishida’s ruling coalition said on Friday.
Public broadcaster NHK showed video footage of Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the Komeito party, telling reporters that Kishida, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party, said in a phone call earlier that he was “preparing for a cabinet reshuffle and party leadership change with Sept. 13 on his mind.”
Kishida, who is visiting India for a G20 summit, has seen his approval ratings plunge after a series of government mishaps in implementing a policy to integrate people’s tax and social security data into a single identification card.
On Thursday, there was further bad news when former ruling Liberal Democratic Party member Masatoshi Akimoto was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes.
“I am very disappointed that a lawmaker has been arrested. I believe that as lawmakers we must focus on the job at hand with a sense of vigilance,” Kishida said on Thursday in Indonesia, on the sidelines of a regional summit meeting.
According to the Asahi newspaper, Akimoto denied the charges during a voluntary interview with investigators.
In a poll by the Yomiuri newspaper in late August, 35% of respondents approved of Kishida’s leadership, while 50% opposed it. 56% of people thought Kishida should renew his cabinet and shake up the senior executives of the ruling party.
(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya, Sakura Murakami, Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by John Stonestreet and Susan Fenton)