Japan defence minister quits amid plunging support for PM
TOKYO: Japanese Defense Minister Hawaitien said on Friday he had resigned in a scandal related to the long-term handling of military documents, in a political coup to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe, who has seen his popularity dropping in recent weeks in a series of controversies, immediately apologized to the nation in the saga.
“I decided to resign as a defense minister,” said Tomomi Inada at a news conference. “I presented my resignation to the prime minister and was accepted.”
Inada, a close confidant of Abe who shares his clandestine nationalist views, was named Defense Minister in August 2016, when he was considered as a future future leader.
But its nearly one-year status has been marked by repeated controversy, including heightened criticism of the Department’s handling of periodic reports by Japanese peacekeepers in southern Sudan, showing a worsening safety .
Abe, who became the prime minister for the second time in December 2012 with a vote to rejuvenate the Japanese economy has been hit by scandals and fools involving members of his Liberal Democratic Party (PLD).
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart to the people in this situation in which they resign a minister,” Abe told reporters after the resignation.
“All the responsibility lies with me, the prime minister, in the appointment of the ministers,” Abe said, adding that “he must take seriously the harsh criticism of the people.”
The latest setback was the prime minister claims he showed favoritism to a friend in a trade, an accusation he vigorously denied.
The public support rating of his government fell precipitously during the summer, voters punish the PDL in local elections in Tokyo earlier this month.
The party has suffered a lightning strike in the Tokyo Municipal Assembly poll that media and analysts have observed a growing perception of “arrogance” on the part of their government.
It has lost more than half of its seats, which was considered a symbol of the national political trust.
Abe must reorganize his cabinet next week to restart his government.
During her tenure, Inada delighted the Conservatives, but provoked national and international criticism in December when she was requested in a controversial war sanctuary in Tokyo – the day after accompanying Abe during a symbolic reconciliation visit to Pearl Harbor in the United States.
The Yasukuni shrine honors millions of Japanese killed in the war, mainly, but it is debatable to launch military and political figures convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal.
Days before the election of Tokyo, Inada asked the voters to support the PDL in the name of his ministry and the army.
The comments were the subject of widespread condemnation, forcing him to retract from Inada, which was seen as an important reason why the party was unprecedented in its survey.