'Gratuitous House Party' Sinks Japan PM's Son

Fumio Kishida's eldest son is resigning as his executive policy secretary
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2023 9:25 AM CDT
'Gratuitous House Party' Sinks Japan PM's Son
This photo shows Shotaro Kishida, a son of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.   (Kyodo News via AP)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday his eldest son is resigning as his executive policy secretary over what Time calls a "gratuitous house party." The 32-year-old used the prime minister's residence for a private party that was exposed in magazine photos, triggering public outrage. As the AP explains, Shotaro Kishida invited a group of people, including relatives, to a year-end party on Dec. 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 of newly appointed Cabinet members, with his son at the center—the position reserved for the prime minister. Other photos showed guests standing at a podium as if holding a news conference. "As secretary for [the prime minister's] political affairs, a public position, his actions were inappropriate and I decided to replace him to have him take responsibility," Fumio Kishida told reporters Monday night.

The prime minister acknowledged that he'd briefly greeted the guests but said he didn't stay at the dinner party. He said he severely reprimanded his son for the party, but that failed to quell public outrage and ongoing criticism from opposition lawmakers. Kishida appointed his son as policy secretary, one of eight secretary posts for the prime minister, in October. The appointment, seen as a step in grooming him as his heir, was criticized as nepotism, which is common in Japanese politics. His son was previously his father's private secretary.

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It was not the first time Kishida's son has come under fire for making use of his official position for private activities. He was 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 he accompanied his father on trips.

(More Fumio Kishida stories.)

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