THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
November 21, 2022 at 16:21 JST
HIROSHIMA--Voters in Hiroshima Prefecture showed little sympathy for ousted internal affairs minister Minoru Terada, saying his funding scandals not only betray supporters but could also hurt international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.
Terada, a Lower House member who represents a constituency in the prefecture, resigned from the Cabinet after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida effectively sacked him on Nov. 20.
“He was gravely accountable in light of his position as internal affairs minister, who has oversight over political funds and the Public Offices Election Law,” said Kenzo Tominaga, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Hiroshima prefectural chapter.
Terada still chairs the chapter.
Opposition parties had intensified their attack against Terada in recent weeks over his suspected misuse of political funds and other irregularities, including erroneous funding reports submitted by his support groups.
“He had to go,” said Katsuji Shitami, a 96-year-old man in Takehara city in Terada’s constituency. “He has betrayed many supporters.”
Shitami has a particularly good reason to be upset. His name was used by one of the support groups without his permission.
In the group’s funding reports for 2014 through 2020, Shitami was listed as a representative, although he had not been involved in the group’s activities for nearly 10 years.
“I had no idea that my name was entered in the reports,” he said.
“Hibakusha” atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima are also concerned that Terada’s scandals could hamper Kishida’s push to move the global community toward a nuclear-free world.
Terada is a second-generation hibakusha and a close ally of Kishida who also represents a constituency in Hiroshima Prefecture.
In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun before the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference in New York in August, Terada, then a special adviser to the prime minster on the nuclear weapons issue, said the biggest challenge was to persuade nuclear powers to reduce their arsenals.
Kishida decided to host the Group of Seven summit in May next year in Hiroshima, where he is expected to push for a reduction in nuclear arms.
Hiroshima city next month is also scheduled to host an international conference on nuclear disarmament by inviting world leaders and other prominent individuals.
“I was disappointed by Terada’s resignation because he is well versed in issues involving atomic bomb victims,” said Toshiyuki Mimaki, 80, chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations. “I wonder whether the Kishida administration can survive until the G-7 summit in Hiroshima.”
A senior official with the LDP’s Hiroshima chapter said the low approval ratings for the Kishida administration could further drop after Terada became the third Cabinet member ousted in a month.
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