Japan’s Trade Minister Sugawara resigns 1 month into job

Japan’s trade minister resigned Friday a month into his job in a scandal over condolence money allegedly being offered to election supporters.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he had accepted the resignation offer by Isshu Sugawara and apologized for appointing him. Abe named Hiroshi Kajiyama, formerly the minister in charge of regulatory reform, as his replacement.

Abe said Sugawara tendered his resignation because he did not want to hold up the important discussions in Parliament over his scandal.

Sugawara has been grilled in Parliament recently after a magazine reported he had paid condolence money to his election district supporters. Such payments are considered donations that are against Japanese law.

Abe is the longest serving prime minister in Japanese postwar history and has managed to shake off various scandals, partly because of an opposition that is divided and unpopular.

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