A fourth Japanese minister leaves Prime Minister Kishida’s cabinet in Japan

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Japanese Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday, becoming the fourth minister to leave the cabinet appointed by Kishida in August.

Three other ministers have resigned successively due to scandals, some of them related to funding and ties to the Unification Church.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s close ties to the religious group came to light after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and have been cited by respondents in public opinion polls as one of the reasons for Kishida’s low approval ratings.

Opposition parties have accused Akiba of involvement in violations of electoral law and having ties to the Unification Church, though Akiba has denied any wrongdoing.

“I didn’t do a single thing that broke the law,” Akiba told reporters gathered in the prime minister’s office after submitting his resignation to Kishida.

Akiba will be replaced by former Reconstruction Minister Hiromichi Watanabe, Kishida said.

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