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Resignation of trade minister deals blow to Abe administration

  • October 26, 2019
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The Saturday morning editions of all national dailies reported extensively on the repercussions of the abrupt resignation of Trade Minister Sugawara over a donation scandal in his home constituency. Given that Sugawara was appointed just a month ago based on a recommendation from Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga even though he had been accused by the press of dubious donation practices, the articles noted that some LDP lawmakers are strongly criticizing Suga, who has wielded strong clout within the Abe administration. The papers speculated that CCS Suga’s grip on power may weaken as a result. Yomiuri conjectured that the latest scandal may make it difficult for Prime Minister Abe to pursue his signature policy of constitutional amendment.

 

While noting that Sugawara was quickly replaced by former Minister for Regional Revitalization Kajiyama, the papers still voiced concern that the sudden switch may stymie METI’s efforts to swiftly address such daunting tasks as the money scandal involving executives of Kansai Electric Power Co., the recovery of small businesses hit hard by devastating Typhoon Hagibis, the dispute over export controls with South Korea, and the final phase of the 16-member RCEP free trade negotiations. Mainichi wrote that the new trade minister probably will not be able to participate in the RCEP trade ministerial conference scheduled for Nov. 1 in Bangkok because he will be required to attend Diet sessions amid the escalating confrontation between the ruling and opposition camps over the Sugawara controversy.

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