He boasted of easy job – now Japanese minister loses it
Japan's Justice Minister resigned yesterday over comments that made light of his duty to respond to questioning in parliament, a blow to the ruling Democratic party as it struggles to keep Japan's fragile economic recovery alive.
Minoru Yanagida said last week that as justice minister he only needed to remember two comments when facing questions from MPs: "I do not comment on specific cases" and "We are dealing with the matter appropriately based on law and evidence."
The remarks set off a firestorm of criticism from MPs, who demanded he step down from his post.
The gaffe is the latest setback for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose plunging support in opinion polls has emboldened the political opposition.
The resignation doesn't threaten Mr Kan's grip on power, but is likely to further erode public support for an administration already facing anger over his perceived weakness in handling recent diplomatic spats with China and Russia. The political sparring in parliament has delayed progress on a $61bn (£38bn) financial stimulus package, even as deflation and a strong yen threaten the struggling economy.
"It is my fault that I made those imprudent and joking comments, and I must apologise deeply," Mr Yanagida said yesterday. He said he decided to step down after meeting with the prime minister, who expressed concern about the debate holding up the passage of the stimulus package, which includes financial support for small businesses and local economies.
The main opposition party had been preparing a censure motion against Mr Yanagida and threatening to boycott parliamentary deliberations on the stimulus budget if he didn't resign.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku will take over as Justice Minister until a new candidate is found. "Our cabinet will buckle down and sincerely respond to parliamentary affairs," he said.
Passage of the stimulus package is almost guaranteed because the ruling Democrats control the more powerful lower house. Even if the opposition-controlled upper house rejects the package, it will become law within 30 days.
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Alton Towers closed after horror crash on The Smiler raises safety questions for theme park
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...