(Sankei: December 8, 2015 – p. 5)
The House of Representatives will hold a meeting of its special committee on post-quake reconstruction for the Great East Japan Earthquake on Dec. 8, which Reconstruction Minister Tsuyoshi Takagi will attend. Takagi stated at a news conference on Dec. 7 that he will not resign, but the opposition is poised to grill him on issues relating to his political funds. Since growing criticism against Takagi may affect the House of Councillors election next summer, there is now an opinion in the Prime Minister’s Official Residence (Kantei) favoring Takagi’s prompt replacement.
Japan Innovation Party (JIP) leader Yorihisa Matsuno demanded Takagi’s resignation at a news conference on Dec. 7, stating: “It will be good for reconstruction if he resigns to set everything straight.”
In response to this, the government and the ruling parties are watching how Takagi will explain himself. Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Sadakazu Tanigaki told a news conference on Dec. 7 that “it all comes down to fulfilling his responsibility to provide an explanation.” Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi also told reporters in Tokyo: “It seems that there are various opinions. I hope he continues to fully meet his responsibility to offer an explanation.”
With political funding issues relating to Takagi being uncovered one after the other, there is an opinion in Kantei that “if Mr. Takagi fails to explain, it will be better for him to resign and reorganize his office,” according to a government source.
If the opposition continues to go after Takagi in the regular Diet session next year, this will have an adverse effect on the political schedule envisioned by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Those who seek Takagi’s replacement want to minimize the impact of the matter. (Abridged)