Scandal Casting Uncertainty over Fate of Economic Security Bill

Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 10 (Jiji Press)--Worries are growing within the Japanese government and ruling bloc that the removal of the head of the planning office for an envisaged law on promoting economic security could negatively affect the fate of the key legislation pushed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

"The government will exert its utmost efforts to submit the (economic security) bill to parliament in late February under the new team," economic security minister Takayuki Kobayashi told a press conference on Thursday.

The minister apparently tried to shrug off uncertainty over the legislation, the core of the Kishida administration's efforts to enhance Japan's economic security system at a time when the United States and China are competing for economic and technological dominance.

A possible scandal involving Toshihiko Fujii led the Cabinet Secretariat to effectively sack him on Tuesday as councillor in charge of the National Security Secretariat and also as chief of the economic security law planning office. The government side explained that it has recognized a case involving Fujii that may lead to his punishment.

According to a Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine online report Wednesday, Fujii worked as a teacher at a private business school over many years but had not reported the job to the government. The magazine also said that Fujii spent a night at the home of a female reporter for a national daily that published an exclusive story related to economic security.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press