2 Japanese Ministers Quit Amid Scandals

2 Japanese Ministers Quit Amid Scandals2 Japanese Ministers Quit Amid Scandals

Japan’s Justice Minister Midori Matsushima has resigned, hours after the resignation of Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi.

Matsushima had been accused by the opposition of violating election laws.

Obuchi is alleged to have misused funds from her political support groups and other donations.

Analysts say the resignations are a major setback for PM Shinzo Abe, who wants to bring more women into the top levels of government, the BBC reported.

Abe said he took responsibility for having appointed both women, and that they would be replaced within a day. Both are members of his governing conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Obuchi, 40, was one of five women appointed by Abe in his cabinet reshuffle last month and was tipped by some as a future prime minister.

But allegations emerged last week that her staff had misused thousands of dollars of campaign funds.

Obuchi has not acknowledged personal wrongdoing, but at a televised press conference on Monday, she said she was resigning because “we cannot let economic policy and energy policy stagnate... because of my problems”.

“I take seriously the impact I have caused,” she said. She also apologized for being unable to contribute to key goals set by Abe, including economic recovery and “a society where women shine”.

Hours later Abe announced that Matsushima, 58, had also resigned.

She had distributed paper fans carrying her image and policies at a festival in her constituency, said NHK.

The opposition Democratic Party filed a criminal complaint against her on Friday, and demanded her resignation, saying this was an apparent violation of election law and rules on usage of political funds.

Some analysts say that this is not the end of Abe’s problems concerning his new female ministers.

Eriko Yamatani, minister in charge of the North Korean abduction issue, was shown in photographs with members of an ultra-nationalist group accused of hate speech against Japan’s ethnic Korean community.