Tokyo, Oct. 19: Japan’s Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka is planning to step down after admitting to having had links with an organized crime syndicate about 30 years ago, a government source has said.
Tanaka is making arrangements to tender his resignation to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in the near future, the source said.
A senior member of the Democratic Party of Japan, headed by Noda, said Tanaka, who would be the first member of the Cabinet to quit since Noda reshuffled it on October 1, has been in a Tokyo hospital for medical checkups.
The opposition camp is likely to try to take political advantage by attacking Noda for appointing Tanaka, who doubles as state minister for the issue of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals, the Japan Times reports.
According to the report on October 12, Tanaka admitted to having acted as a matchmaker for a senior member of a major yakuza gang in Yokohama about 30 years ago and attended a party hosted by its leader.
The minister, however, at that time ruled out the possibility of resigning from his post.
Before this link with yakuza members was reported by a weekly magazine this month, Tanaka was already under scanner over receiving political funds from a foreign national in a possible violation of Japanese law, the report said.
According to the report, Tanaka’s office said a DPJ branch headed by him received a total of 420,000 yen in donations between 2006 and 2009 from a company run by a Chinese man.
The office said he had returned all of the money.
The Political Funds Control Law bans politicians from receiving contributions from individuals or entities of non-Japanese nationality to prevent domestic politics being influenced by foreigners, the report added. (ANI)