Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is losing his grip on the Liberal Democratic Party amid the unfolding political funds scandal that has roiled the ruling party.

On Thursday, Kishida replaced all four Cabinet ministers belonging to the LDP faction once headed by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is at the center of the scandal. Kishida faced difficulties in finding their successors due to a widening rift with the Abe faction, the party's biggest.

As public approval rates for his Cabinet continue to fall, government officials and LDP lawmakers are beginning to discuss a scenario in which Kishida will be left with no option other than to step down before his term as LDP president ends next September, sources have said.