‘Dynastic politics’: Japan’s Kishida accused of nepotism for appointing son as executive secretary

Fumio Kishida, the prime minister of Japan, is under fire for allegedly engaging in nepotism when he named his young son as his executive secretary. Some opponents believe this appointment may have been made to allow the younger Kishida to succeed his father in the parliamentary elections.

Shotaro Kishida, 31, was chosen for the position on Tuesday, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, who stated in a press conference that he was chosen for his “personality and understanding.” Matsuno stated that the motivation of the authorities had been “the idea of putting the right person in the right location.”

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The oldest son of the prime minister, Shotaro, had worked as a secretary in his father’s office since March 2020. Prior to this, he was employed by the trading firm Mitsui & Co.

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, left, with his oldest son Shotaro, center, and wife Yuko. Photo credits: Bloomberg

Kishida became prime minister exactly one year ago on Tuesday. His popularity has been waning after a reasonably good first few months in office, when it approached 60% of the populace.

Kishida’s support has been weakened as a result of revelations regarding the number of members of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) having ties to the Unification Church.

However, his insistence on holding the lavish, pricey memorial service for Abe, who was shot dead at an LDP gathering in July, has had the most influence on his rapidly declining support ratings.

PM Fumio Kishida’s decision to appoint his son comes just a week after the government held an unpopular state funeral for Shinzo Abe. Photo: Kyodo

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is facing accusations of nepotism after he appointed his inexperienced son to be his executive secretary, a move some critics say may pave the way for the younger Kishida to inherit his father’s parliamentary seat.

Shotaro Kishida, 31, was appointed on Tuesday, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno saying in a press conference that he had been selected for his “personality and insight”. Matsuno insisted officials had been motivated by “the idea of putting the right person in the right place”.

Shotaro, the prime minister’s eldest son, had been a secretary in his father’s office since March 2020. He previously worked for trading house Mitsui & Co.

“Bringing in his own son is quite unusual as usually these positions are filled by experienced bureaucrats from the ministries,” said Hiromi Murakami, a professor of political science at the Tokyo campus of Temple University.

“And the timing of the announcement, just after Abe’s memorial service is quite bad. It is odd that he did not realise that this does not look good or that no one suggested that to him,” she added.

The leader of the opposition Democratic Party for the People, Yuichiro Tamaki, immediately criticised the action and charged the prime minister with “showing favouritism toward relatives.”

Social media posts criticising Kishida’s waning popularity and accusing him of nepotism were less restrained, and some even called for a law to outlaw “hereditary politics.”

“Heritage politics once more? Please put an end to these hereditary appointments. It merely encourages corruption. One tweet stated, “I want a law against hereditary politics.


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