Shotaro Kishidahis 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 magazine showing Kishida’s son and his relatives posing on red carpeted stairs in an imitation of the group photos taken by the new appointees Cabinets, with his son in the center — the post reserved for the prime minister. Other photos showed guests standing on a podium as if holding a press conference.
“As the political affairs secretary (to the Prime Minister), a public post, his actions were inappropriate and I decided to replace him to hold him accountable,” Kishida told reporters Monday night. He said that his son will be replaced by another secretary, Takayoshi YamamotoTHURSDAY.
Kishida acknowledged that he briefly greeted the guests, but said he did not stay for dinner.
He said he harshly berated his son for the party, but that failed to assuage continued criticism from opposition lawmakers and public outrage that drove his support ratings down.
Kishida appointed his son political secretary, one of eight prime minister’s secretary posts, in October. The nomination, seen as a step to groom him to become his heir, has been criticized as nepotism, common in Japanese politics, long dominated by hereditary legislators. His son was previously his father’s private secretary. It was not the first time that Kishida’s son was criticized for using his official position for private activities. He was reprimanded for using embassy cars for private visits to Britain and Paris and for buying souvenirs for Cabinet members at a luxury department store in London when he accompanied his father on a of travel.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno earlier called the son’s party at the official residence “inappropriate” and promised to ensure proper management of the facility to prevent future abuse.
The nearly 100-year-old building was previously the Prime Minister’s office and became the living quarters in 2005 when a new office was built.