The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
The Great Debate
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Download our Wider Image iPad app
Images of September
Obama on attack in foreign policy debate, but Romney steady
Italian court ruling sends chill through science community
22 Oct 2012
Obama, Romney battle over foreign policy
22 Oct 2012
"Horses and bayonets" becomes latest debate catchphrase
Apple set to unwrap mini-iPad to take on Amazon, Google
22 Oct 2012
Obama gets second chance in debate rematch with Romney
Obama talks Libya and Biden’s swimsuit on ”Daily Show”
As other polls show tight race, Gallup stands apart
Japan justice minister quits after "mob ties" scandal
New Japanese finance minister seen sticking to policy line
Mon, Oct 1 2012
U.S. call for "cool heads" in China-Japan island dispute goes unheeded
Fri, Sep 28 2012
China, Japan stand their ground in islands row, but keep talking
Wed, Sep 26 2012
Japan opposition gives ex-PM Abe second chance amid China feud
Wed, Sep 26 2012
Japan fires water cannon to turn away Taiwan boats
Tue, Sep 25 2012
Analysis & Opinion
Rahul Gandhi can change Congressâ€™ image with cabinet entry
Lithuanians ditch government in verdict on austerity
Japan's former Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka arrives at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo October 1, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:50am EDT
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's justice minister quit on Tuesday because of ill health, a cabinet official said, after calls for his resignation over past ties to an organised crime syndicate, dealing another blow to unpopular Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Keishu Tanaka, 74, only became justice minister in a cabinet reshuffle on October 1, and his resignation is the second by a minister since Noda took office in September 2011.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference that Tanaka stepped down for health reasons.
The resignation came a day after Tanaka left a Tokyo hospital where he had checked in on Friday with chest pains, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.
The health problems followed days of calls for his resignation after a magazine report linked him to the Yakuza organised crime syndicate.
Tanaka said he acted as a matchmaker at a mobster's wedding and attended a party thrown by the head of a crime group about 30 years ago, explaining that he was not aware of the groom's mob connections or the nature of the event at the time.
Tanaka has also admitted shortly after his appointment that his party branch accepted 420,000 yen ($5,300) in donations from a company run by a foreigner between 2006 and 2009. Accepting funds from foreign nationals is illegal if done so knowingly.
Tanaka's office said he had returned all of the money, according to media.
"The resignation is likely to further weaken Noda's support within his party. Obviously, it will become more difficult for him to exert leadership," said Mikitaka Masuyama, professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
"But it is uncertain whether this could be a trigger for an early election ... Given falling public support for the government, there is no benefit in him dissolving parliament and calling snap election at the moment."
Noda promised in August to hold an election "soon" as part of negotiations with the opposition on a plan to raise sales tax.
The Tanaka scandal is the latest in a string of setbacks for Noda, the ruling Democrats' third prime minister in as many years, who is expected to lose the next election.
In September last year, days after Noda formed his government, then Trade Minister Yoshio Hachiro quit over comments about radiation following a visit to the Fukushima region, scene of a nuclear plant accident following an earthquake and tsunami in March that year.
Government policy-making has stalled since the parliament session ended last month, with the opposition blocking legislation in a split parliament to try and force an early election.
Noda's ruling party has decided to convene an extra session of parliament from October 29 to try to pass a bill needed to cover nearly half the government's budget spending, setting the stage for another showdown with the opposition.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Michael Perry and Robert Birsel)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.