Photo/Illutration Former Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto speaks to reporters at the prime minister’s office on Nov. 21 after being appointed as new internal affairs minister. (Tetsuro Takehana)

Former Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto is the new internal affairs minister, succeeding Minoru Terada who was ousted over a series of political funding scandals, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Nov. 21.

At the prime minister’s office on the morning after Terada was effectively sacked, Kishida said he instructed Matsumoto to “make progress on a wide range of issues, including local administration and finance, the Vision for a Digital Garden City Nation, and information and communications.”

“As for the latest resignation of a Cabinet member, I take seriously my responsibility for appointing him,” Kishida told reporters.

In recent Diet sessions, opposition parties had attacked Terada for a string of irregularities concerning his political funds, including payments that apparently went to his wife.

Kishida said, “We in the government would like to make our utmost efforts to facilitate (Diet) deliberations and quickly pass the supplementary budget and important bills.”

On the issue of political funds, Kishida said: “It’s a very important issue as far as securing confidence from the public is concerned. Politicians must prove worthy of the confidence that the public places in them by always being conscious of such issues and reviewing things surrounding themselves.”