Prime Minister Kishida under fire for son's merrymaking at official residence

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has been grilled over a scandal involving his son Shotaro, who reportedly held a rowdy party at the prime minister's official residence.

An article of the Shukan Bunshun weekly reported this week that Kishida Shotaro, who serves as his father's secretary, held a year-end party with his relatives at the living quarters of the official residence in December.

The weekly said that the younger Kishida and the participants frolicked and took pictures in a room used to receive foreign dignitaries. A participant was reportedly photographed lying on a red-carpeted staircase in the residence.

The elder Kishida said on Thursday that he had reprimanded his son over the reported merrymaking.

In an Upper House committee session on Friday, a lawmaker of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party said that such an action as taking a photo of a person lying on the staircase is the worst case of mixing public and private matters.

The lawmaker expressed doubt about risk management at the facility, saying that the prime minister is not qualified as a top leader as he is said to be lenient on his relatives.

The prime minister noted that the photos were taken when relatives visited the official residence in December, and that he had greeted the participants while they were dining at the private living space.

He said that their actions were inappropriate as the residence has official functions, and that he reprimanded his son from the viewpoint of risk management.

Speaking to reporters, Shimba Kazuya, the secretary-general of the opposition Democratic Party for the People, said that people have questioned the younger Kishida's fitness as a public person whose salary is paid by the taxpayers.

He called on the younger Kishida to assume accountability by explaining his actions at a news conference. He said if the younger Kishida does not do so, he should step down.

Shimba added that it will be a serious problem if the prime minister defends the actions of his son.

Japanese Communist Party policy chief Tamura Tomoko told reporters that Kishida's appointment of his son as secretary has raised questions from the beginning.

Tamura said that Kishida is still trying to defend his son even after a series of scandals.

She said that the younger Kishida deserves the harsh calls for his dismissal.

She added that the prime minister should be held accountable for his appointment as it is obvious that his son is not fit for the position.