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Japanese parliamentary vice president resigns over political funds scandal

Japanese parliamentary vice president resigns over political funds scandal

The vice president of Japan's upper house of parliament offered to step down over a political funds scandal on Friday, as allegations of misusing funds spread from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc to the opposition party.
Upper House Vice President Giichi Tsunoda, also a senior lawmaker of the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said he was resigning to prevent a further erosion of public trust.
"If I stayed on as vice president of the house, it could only amplify the public distrust in politics," said Tsunoda, 69.
But he denied the allegation that he failed to declare 25 million yen (US$205,760; euro158,550) in political donations he received during the 2001 election campaign.
Tsunoda said that his resignation as vice president of the house was aimed at minimizing damage to his party, but that he was not giving up his parliamentary seat.
Tsunoda is the latest of several lawmakers accused of misusing political funds _ but the first in the opposition. It could be a bitter blow to the Democrats, who had planned to use the issue to attack Abe's government during parliamentary debates ahead of national elections later this year.
One of Abe's Cabinet ministers had to resign over misuse of political funds, and several other ruling-bloc ministers and senior lawmakers have also faced allegations over misused funds.
Tsunoda's resignation announcement comes just a day after Japan's parliament reconvened Thursday.
Abe, in the meantime, is hoping to bounce back from plunging support rates shown in recent polls.
Support for Abe has been hit by several scandals in his Cabinet, and has dipped steadily since he took office. According to the Asahi newspaper, one of Japan's largest, it fell below 40 percent this week _ a drop of 8 percentage points from the month before.


Updated : 2021-05-09 04:51 GMT+08:00