Japan names new minister after gangster scandal
Updated: 2012-10-25 01:20
By Agencies (China Daily)
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday named a new justice minister after the last one resigned in the wake of an uproar over past links with organized crime.
Makoto Taki, who was shuffled out of the post on Oct 1 to make way for the now scandal-tainted Keishu Tanaka, has been put back in his old job, the government announced.
"Former justice minister Taki has a thorough understanding of the workings of justice administration," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.
Taki, 74, a career civil servant, had a low profile while previously in office, but won plaudits for beefing up Japan's laws on reckless driving.
Tanaka stepped down on Tuesday, citing health reasons after spending several days in a hospital.
However, his resignation came after he was forced to admit links to yakuza organized crime syndicates when a magazine revealed he had once acted as a matchmaker for a senior mobster.
Tanaka spent more than a week insisting he would not quit over the issue, but local media said pressure from politicians of all stripes eventually forced his hand.
His resignation after only three weeks in the job was a fresh blow to an already beleaguered Noda, who is facing pressure to go to the polls after trading opposition support for an unpopular tax hike in return for a pledge to call elections "soon".
A beleaguered Noda told reporters at his office earlier on Tuesday that he bore full responsibility for Tanaka's blunders, but suggested that he intends to cling on to his position for a while longer.
"I'm responsible as an appointer in terms of the fact that a minister I chose was not able to fulfill his duties," Noda said.
"We, cabinet members, will carry out our responsibilities by working hard as one," the prime minister said.