Japanese Official under Fire for "Sontaku" Remark Resigns

Politics

Tokyo, April 5 (Jiji Press)--A senior official of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration resigned on Friday, after suggesting that he acted voluntarily for the interests of Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso over a road project.

The resignation of Ichiro Tsukada, 55, as state minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism was an effective dismissal by Abe amid growing concerns within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party about possible adverse implications in a series of local elections later this month and a House of Councillors poll in the summer.

Tsukada has been under fire for claiming that his "sontaku," or voluntary action, in favor of Abe and Aso was behind a government plan to conduct a feasibility study on the road project in the southwestern region including the constituencies of the two top officials.

Abe previously planned to keep Tsukada in his post. On Thursday, the prime minister told parliament that he wanted the state minister to fulfill his duty.

"I've decided to take responsibility as the situation is going to undermine the trust in the government and stall administrative processes," Tsukada told reporters after submitting his resignation. He added that he has no plans to quit parliament.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press