Ja­pan’s de­fence min­is­ter about to quit

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Ja­pan’s De­fence Min­is­ter To­momi Inada is sur­rounded by re­porters as she ar­rives at the De­fence Min­istry in Tokyo, Ja­pan, yes­ter­day.

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