Takeshita refuses to resign in gangster row

TOKYO - Noboru Takeshita, the former Japanese prime minister under fire for his alleged links with gangster syndicates, yesterday again refused to resign from parliament despite growing pressure for him to do so. Mr Takeshita was testifying to the upper house of Japan's parliament about the role of a yakuza gangster syndicate in helping his election to the prime ministership in 1987, writes Terry McCarthy.

Mr Takeshita has chosen to stake his reputation, and by extension that of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on his refusal to resign. Yesterday he said it was his duty to prove to the world that gangsters were not involved in inaugurating a Japanese government. However, few Japanese voters show confidence in the testimony of Mr Takeshita, who was forced to give up the prime ministership in 1989 because of his involvement in the Recruit shares-for-favours scandal. An opinion poll showed 70 per cent of people think he should resign.

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