All networks reported on Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai’s resignation this morning after the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun alleged that the office of the minister’s wife, Anri Kawai, who is a member of the House of Councillors, made payments to her campaign staff that exceeded the legal limit. Prime Minister Abe has appointed former Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate Masako Mori as Kawai’s replacement.
Kawai told reporters after meeting with PM Abe at the Kantei to tender his resignation that he decided to step down this morning based on the view that public trust in judicial administration should not be lost even for a minute. He added that neither he nor his wife was aware of the allegation and that he will provide a full explanation to the public when he learns the details. Abe told reporters afterward that he feels responsible for creating the situation because he appointed Kawai as justice minister and deeply apologizes to the people of Japan.
The networks speculated that Kawai’s resignation will deal a heavy blow to the Abe administration, which has now lost its second cabinet member in less than a week following Trade Minister Sugawara’s resignation last Friday over a money scandal. Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan Secretary-General Fukuyama told reporters that the Abe cabinet should resign en masse. TBS and Fuji TV speculated that the two resignations may weaken Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga’s clout in the cabinet because both politicians are close to him.