(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he would fire his son, who is working as his secretary, after a scandal over a party held at his official residence in late 2022.

“His actions last year in an official space were inappropriate for a secretary who is in an official position, so I decided to replace him to draw a line under this,” Kishida told reporters in remarks carried live by public broadcaster NHK. The replacement will take effect as of June 1, he added. 

The decision came after a recent rise in support for Kishida’s cabinet appeared to peak out in a series of polls carried out over the weekend, amid criticism of Shotaro Kishida. A magazine had published photos of him posing in official spaces during the party, including on the stairs where new cabinet ministers are usually photographed to mark their appointment. 

The premier had already reprimanded his son over the incident, but a poll carried out by the Asahi newspaper showed three quarters of respondents saw Shotaro’s behavior as a problem. A separate poll by the Nikkei newspaper showed Kishida’s support had fallen by five percentage points to 47%. 

Kishida’s Support Peaks Out as Scandal Tarnishes G-7 Glow

The scandal over Kishida’s son comes as attention refocuses from the international stage to the government’s domestic woes. Speculation about an early election had been fueled by Kishida’s successful hosting of the Group of Seven summit, with the unexpected presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meeting widespread approval and helping to bolster voter support. 

Kishida need not hold a general election until 2025, but going to the polls early would be an opportunity to renew his mandate ahead of a party leadership election next year and a fight over how to pay for his pledges to increase spending on defense and children. 



©2023 Bloomberg L.P.