Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that his son is stepping down as his executive secretary to take responsibility for using the prime minister’s residence for a private party where the party was featured in magazine photos that sparked public outrage.
Shotaro Kishida, his father’s executive secretary for political affairs and eldest son, invited a group of people, including relatives, to an end-of-year party on December 30 at the prime minister’s official residence.
Photos published by the weekly Shukan Bunshun show Kishida’s son and his relatives posing on red-carpeted stairs in imitation of group photos taken at newly appointed cabinets, with his son in the center – the seat reserved for the prime minister. Other photos showed guests standing at a podium as if they were giving a press conference.
JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER WARMS THE ALARM ABOUT HISTORIC POPULATION DECLINE; IT’S ‘NOW OR NEVER’ TO REVERSE THE TREND
“As (the prime minister’s) political affairs secretary, a public position, his actions were inappropriate and I decided to deputize him to take responsibility,” Kishida told reporters on Monday evening. He said his son will be replaced on Thursday by another secretary, Takayoshi Yamamoto.
Kishida acknowledged briefly saying goodbye to guests, but said he didn’t stay for the dinner.
He said he severely reprimanded his son for the party but that failed to quell continued criticism from opposition lawmakers and public outrage that lowered his support ratings.
JAPANESE SUSPECT THROWS SMOKE BOMB AT PRIME MINISTER, IS ADDRESSED ON VIDEO
Kishida named his son political secretary, one of eight prime ministerial secretary posts, in October. The appointment, seen as a step forward in grooming him as his heir, has been criticized as nepotism, a common occurrence in Japanese politics, long dominated by hereditary lawmakers. His son was formerly his father’s private secretary.
It wasn’t the first time Kishida’s son had come under fire for using his official position for private business. He has been 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 accompanying his father on trips.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno previously called holding a son’s party at the official residence “inappropriate” and promised to ensure proper management of the facility to prevent future abuses.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The nearly 100-year-old building was previously the prime minister’s office and became home in 2005 when a new office was built.