Japanese minister resigns over donation

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The Japanese Foreign Minister resigned yesterday after admitting he accepted a political donation from a foreigner – a violation of Japanese law.

Seiji Maehara's departure after just six months in the post has dealt another blow to the embattled administration of the Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Mr Maehara, 48, had been viewed as a leading candidate to succeed Mr Kan. He acknowledged receiving ¥50,000 (£375) last year from a 72-year-old Korean woman who has lived most of her life in Japan. He said they had been friends since his childhood. Some Japanese newspapers, however, reported her donations over the past several years totalled ¥250,000.

Japanese law makes it very hard for foreigners to become citizens. The foreign residents include hundreds of thousands of ethnic Koreans.