Chief Cabinet Secretary resigns

The chief spokesman of Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro resigned on May 7.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo, now under fire for his failure to pay pension premiums, used his regular press briefing to announce his resignation in order to take the responsibility for mishandling the issue of failure to pay the National Pension premiums.

Hosoda Hiroyuki, former deputy chief cabinet secretary, was appointed on the same day as the new Chief Cabinet Secretary.

Commenting on Fukuda's resignation, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said: "Now that 7 out of 17 cabinet members have been found to have failed to pay pension premiums for a certain period, it is natural for Fukuda, the point man in the cabinet, to take responsibility and resign."

At a time when the government bill to cut benefits and force the people to pay more in premiums is the burning issue, Fukuda has made a false explanation to the public on his payment of pension premiums.

At the April 23 press conference, he refused to respond to reporters questions concerning his payment of premiums on the grounds that "it is a private matter". After the government bill was railroaded through the House of Representatives committee meeting on April 28, he made public that there had been a period in which he failed to pay the pension insurance premiums.

Fukuda, former Prime Minister Fukuda Takeo's son, became the chief cabinet secretary in October 2000. (end)

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