Three Japanese ministers, including Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Junji Suzuki, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ichiro Miyashita, have resigned amid alleged corruption scandal involving the largest faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
The LDP has been under scrutiny for failing to declare fundraising revenue in political funding reports, potentially pooling secret funds. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno has also resigned amid an ongoing kickback scandal.
Japanese prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into the faction over allegations of receiving about 500 million yen ($3.5m) in fundraising proceeds missing from party accounts, news outlets reported.
“In light of the various allegations made regarding political funds, which have shaken the public trust in politics, and the various allegations made regarding my own political funds, I have submitted my resignation,” Matsuno said at a press conference.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced late on Wednesday that he would revamp his government as he battles to control the fallout from the scandal in the party, which has led Japan almost uninterrupted since the end of World War II.
He said he regretted that the scandal had deepened political distrust and insisted he would take urgent steps to tackle it.
“We will tackle the various issues surrounding political funds head-on… I will make efforts like a ball of fire and lead the LDP to restore the public’s trust,” he told reporters.