Industry minister Sugawara resigns
NHK -- Oct 26
Japan's industry minister Isshu Sugawara has resigned over reports of a possible electoral law violation.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to appoint former regional revitalization minister Hiroshi Kajiyama to the post.

Sugawara's resignation on Friday follows a report in a weekly magazine that he offered melons, crabs and other gifts to voters in his electoral district around 2007.

On Thursday, the Shukan Bunshun also reported that Sugawara's secretary offered condolence money earlier this month to the bereaved family of a supporter.

Sugawara had told a Diet committee meeting that he would look into what really happened.

Sugawara told reporters on Friday that the industry ministry has many issues to address, and he doesn't want the reports about his political activities to disrupt Diet deliberations. He apologized for stepping down before his term expires.

Prime Minister Abe also offered an apology, saying he is responsible for Sugawara's appointment.

Abe added there should be no delays in policymaking in important fields such as industry and trade, and he intends to choose Kajiyama to replace Sugawara.

Hiroshi Kajiyama is 64 years old. He was first elected to the Lower House of the Diet in 2002 as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. He has been the chairman of a Lower House land and transport committee and a special committee on disasters. His late father, Seiroku Kajiyama, was Chief Cabinet Secretary and LDP Secretary-General.

News source: NHK
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