Japan economy minister Akira Amari resigns after admitting bribery claims
Jan 28, 2016 10:11 PM EST
Japan's Economy Minister, Akira Amari, has abruptly resigned over allegations that he took bribes from a construction company executive. He admitted receiving the money, making it another major blow to prime minister Shinzo Abe's attempts to revive Japan's dwindling economy.
BBC reported that Amari announced his decision to quit Thursday. This is a significant blow to PM Abe's plans to restore the country's economy. Amari is considered as one of Abe's most trusted MP. He has been economic minister since late 2012.
According to The Guardian, he admitted he received the money, however, he let his aides put the funds in record envelopes as political donations. This means he denied personally receiving the construction company bribe. He will resign to prevent distracting the government from pulling the country out of the continuing deflation.
Amari leads the administration's "Abenomics" growth strategy. Reuters wrote that the government immediately appointed former minister and Liberal Democratic Party secretary-general Nobuteru Ishihara to replace Amari.
"Japan is finally emerging from deflation ... we need to pass legislation through parliament for steps to beat deflation and create a strong economy as soon as possible," said Amari during the press conference in Tokyo.
Amari became the topic of the controversy when a local magazine, Shukan Bunshun, reported last week that he and his aides were given 12 million yen, or $101,000 by a construction company to get land ownership. The magazine added that Amari pocketed two envelopes containing 500,000 yen each. According to the report, the minister has pocketed 3 million yen, and his aides have already resigned.
Amari, who is the architect of "Abenomics" could have been a good prospect since Japan avoided a technical recession in last year's third quarter despite struggling with deflation for almost 20 years. Amari is the fourth minister from Abe's cabinet that quit over bribery scandals. There are observers forecasting further damaging revelations after Amari's resignation.