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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 22 - 29  > METI Minister just one month after taking office resigns over money scandal
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2019 October 22 - 29 [POLITICS]

METI Minister just one month after taking office resigns over money scandal

October 26, 2019

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Sugawara Isshu on October 25 resigned in the wake of the revelation of a money scandal involving his secretary. He was appointed to the post just one month ago in the Cabinet reshuffle.

Including Sugawara, nine ministers have already been forced to step down due to money-for-politics scandals since the Abe administration was inaugurated in 2012. In response to Sugawara’s departure, Prime Minister Abe selected Kajiyama Hiroshi, who used to serve as Minister of State for Regional Revitalization, to fill the vacant Cabinet position.

On the same day in the Diet building, Sugawara before the press acknowledged that his secretary delivered money and gifts to supporters in his constituency. This may constitute a violation of the Public Offices Election Act banning such acts.

Following the economy and trade minister’s resignation, Diet affairs chiefs of the Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and the Democratic Party for the People met in the Diet building and agreed to urge the outgoing minister to fully disclose his accountability. They requested their counterpart in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Moriyama Hiroshi, to summon Sugawara to respond to the allegation before directors of the House of Representatives Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry. The ruling block, however, rejected the opposition block’s request and drew a curtain on the matter.

JCP Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji at a press conference said, “It is unacceptable for the ruling block to put an end to the scandal with the resignation of Sugawara. We continue calling for an investigation into the scandal. If Sugawara’s involvement in public election law violations is verified, he should also resign as a parliamentarian.”

Furthermore, regarding PM Abe’s responsibility for appointing Sugawara to the post, Kokuta said, “Every time a Cabinet minister resigns over a scandal, PM Abe says he assumes all blame for the resignation. However, he never indicates his intention to work to uncover the truth and to take responsibility for naming questionable persons to Cabinet positions. He is totally irresponsible in his actions.”

Past related article:
> Abe Cabinet heavily tainted by ‘money-for-politics’ scandals [August 29&30, 2019]
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