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Japanese PM Appoints New Economy Minister

FILE - Japan's Economy Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club, Jan. 12, 2022, in Tokyo. Yamagiwa said, Oct. 24, he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Fumio Kishdia over his ties to the Unification Church.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has selected a replacement for former economy minister Daishiro Yamagiwa, who stepped down Monday amid growing criticism over his ties to the controversial Unification Church.

Prime Minister Kishida announced Tuesday that he had named former health minister Shigeyuki Goto to the post, citing his experience and “passion” for economic and social reforms. Goto’s appointment comes as the prime minister is preparing to introduce a major economic stimulus package sometime this month.

Public support for Kishida’s government has plummeted since the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 8 while delivering a speech at a campaign rally in the western city of Nara. The suspected gunman, who was apprehended at the scene, was reportedly angry over Abe’s suspected links to the South Korean-based Unification Church, which he blamed for his mother’s financial ruin.

Abe led Japan’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which recently revealed that nearly half of its lawmakers have ties to the Unification Church. Kishida has ordered a formal investigation of the church, which has been described as a cult. Yamagiwa is the first member of Kishida’s Cabinet to resign over the scandal.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.