Japanese agriculture minister resigns amid political crisis
( RIA Novosti ) - Japan's agriculture minister announced Wednesday his resignation following a devastating election defeat for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over the weekend.
Norihiko Akagi, who was appointed to his post only two month ago after his predecessor, Toshikatsu Matsuoka, committed suicide amid allegations of the misuse of public funds, has himself become a target of sharp criticism over the alleged misappropriation of about $730,000 for maintaining a non-existent office.
"There were various reports about me in the media and this affected the election," Akagi said after a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "It is undeniable that this was a reason for the defeat of the ruling coalition."
Akagi has become the fourth minister to quit an increasingly unpopular Cabinet since Shinzo Abe took office last September. Despite his party's defeat, Abe has said he would not resign.
After Liberal Democrats lost decades-long majority in the 242-seat upper house of parliament during Sunday elections, Abe said he planned a major reshuffle of his Cabinet lineup without specifying a timeline.