Japan’s defence minister about to quit
TOKYO: Japan’s embattled Defence Minister Tomomi Inada was set to resign yesterday over the suspected cover-up of information related to a UN peacekeeping mission, and a former defence minister is lined up to take her place, media said.
Inada had launched an investigation into media reports that defence officials had tried to hide logs showing worsening security in South Sudan, where Japanese troops were taking part in a UN-led peacekeeping operation.
Inada will resign after today’s publication of the results of the investigation to take responsibility for the affair, according to NHK.
Inada, a protege of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, had denied reports of involvement in the cover-up but had been expected to be replaced in a cabinet reshuffle early next month because of the scandal, and a series of missteps that critics say contributed to a plunge in support for Abe.
Kyodo news agency said Abe was likely to choose as her successor somebody who had served in the post, trying to project an image of stability as he battles a number of scandals.
Potential candidates include Itsunori Onodera, Kyodo said, who served for nearly two years from 2012, when Abe returned to power, and is widely regarded as a safe pair of hands for the job.
The cover-up scandal has also led General Toshiya Okabe, chief of staff of the Ground Self Defence Forces, to resign, media reported. A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment. Reuters
Japan’s Defence Minister Tomomi Inada is surrounded by reporters as she arrives at the Defence Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday.