Japan’s new justice minister quit his post Tuesday citing “health reasons.” Earlier in the month a Japanese publication exposed the minister’s ties to the Yakuza organized crime syndicate.
The minister, Keishu Tanaka, 74, admitted he attended a wedding party of a member of the Yakuza several decades ago, reported the Japan Times.
His resignation and the allegations against him will put extra pressure on the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government. Noda had just appointed him to the post, where he would have had oversight over police investigations into yakuza activities.
The government said that Tanaka resigned because of health problems.
“I have high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, and was told I needed medical treatment,” Tanaka said in a statement, according to the Times.
He continued: “I wanted to continue my job and fulfill my duties, but my health would not permit me to do so, and I decided to step down because I could not bear causing trouble for the people’s lives and for the legal, administrative and Diet affairs.”
Tanaka on Oct. 12 admitted to attending the Yakuza wedding around 30 years ago. However he already was undergoing a separate investigation for allegedly receiving around 420,000 yen ($5,200) in political donations from a foreigner, which may have violated Japanese political finance laws, according to The Mainichi newspaper.
Noda on Tuesday took some of the blame for naming Tanaka as justice minister.
“I’m responsible as an appointer in terms of the fact that a minister I chose was not able to fulfill his duties,” Noda told the Mainichi.
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