Japan replaces scandal-tainted justice ministerAssociated Press
TOKYO — Japan’s prime minister replaced his justice minister Wednesday, one day after the senior Cabinet member resigned over health issues and after reports that he associated with gangsters and accepted questionable donations.
Makoto Taki was chosen to return to the helm of the Justice Ministry because of his experience and familiarity with the job, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said. Taki had left the post after a Cabinet reshuffle Oct. 1, but his replacement resigned Tuesday.
Keishu Tanaka had been hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat and other health problems, but he had also been at the center of allegations he accepted questionable political funds and was a go-between in the wedding of an organized crime figure 30 years ago.
Tanaka’s resignation was seen as another blow to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s unpopular administration. Noda’s approval rating has dropped to around 20 percent, and he is under intense pressure to call parliamentary elections to prove he still has a mandate.
He has resisted setting a date, because his party is expected to lose if elections are held soon.