Japanese defence chief resigns

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

TOKYO (Reuter) - The Japanese Defence Minister resigned yesterday after sparking a furore in parliament by calling for amendments to the country's 'peace constitution'.

Keisuke Nakanishi had called for constitutional amendments that would allow Japanese troops to assume combat roles under UN command, and his statement triggered an opposition boycott of parliament.

After meeting the Prime Minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, he told reporters: 'I now feel that my responsibility for getting the parliamentary deliberation stalled was grave. That's why I submitted my resignation.' The row came as a further blow to the Prime Minister, who is struggling with a sagging economy and delays in political reforms.