2 Japanese ministers quit over scandals
Two of Japan’s five female cabinet members have resigned over allegations involving the misuse of election campaign funds as well as violating electoral regulations.
The country’s new Industry and Trade Minister Yuko Obuchi quit on Monday over charges of manipulating political campaign funds, followed by Justice Minister Midori Matsushima, who resigned after being accused of violating national electoral laws by handing out paper fans to voters.
Obuchi was questioned by opposition party members in parliament last week and apologized for funding irregularities, though she refused to acknowledge the allegations leveled against her by opposition Democratic Party members.
Forty-year-old Obuchi, the daughter of a former prime minister and regarded as a future candidate to become Japan’s first female premier, told a news conference she was resigning amid allegations that her support groups manipulated political funds.
The scandals are widely considered as the biggest setback to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since he took office in 2012.
Obuchi and Matsushima were among the five women appointed by Abe in a cabinet reshuffle in September as part of a bid to enhance his popularity and demonstrate his commitment to nominating female appointees in line with his “Abenomics” strategy to revive the country’s economy