Japanese Minister Sugawara under Pressure over Possible Law Violation

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 24 (Jiji Press)--Japanese industry minister Isshu Sugawara has been under pressure over possible violation of the public offices election law and some members of the ruling bloc think that he could be forced to step down.

"It would be difficult (for Sugawara) to continue to serve as cabinet minister," a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said. "We can't protect (Sugawara) if (what he has done) is illegal," said a senior member of Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner.

Another senior LDP member said the prime minister's office will decide on Sugawara's course of action.

Sugawara, who was absent from a parliamentary meeting Thursday, told reporters that he will speak about the allegations in parliament on Friday.

In its Thursday edition, the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine reported that a secretary of Sugawara offered "koden" condolence money at a funeral in his constituency on Oct. 17.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press