Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Justice Minister quits after revelation of yakuza ties

Former Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters, file)
Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka stepped down Tuesday after allegations he ties to the yakuza.

Tanaka, 74, became justice minister after a reshuffle of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's cabinet Oct. 1. He had acted as a matchmaker at a yakuza's wedding 30 years ago and attended a party thrown by a mob boss. He claimed he was unaware of the groom's gang connections at the time.

Tanaka cited ill health as his reason for resigning. He had checked into a Tokyo hospital Friday with chest pains, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.

This story illustrates the pervasive influence the yakuza has on Japanese politics. I also question why Noda didn't more thoroughly vet his cabinet members before appointing someone with yakuza ties as the Justice Minister.

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