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Japan’s agriculture minister resigns over political funds

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Tokyo, Feb 23 (IANS) Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Koya Nishikawa resigned on Monday following allegations that he received illegal political funds, Xinhua news agency reported.


According to the Jiji News Agency, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who accepted Nishikawa’s resignation, was appointing Yoshimasa Hayashi, Nishikawa’s predecessor to the post.

The 72-year-old Nishikawa faces allegation of receiving illegal donations after a company in his home constituency was found to have donated one million yen (about $8,400) to a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chapter he heads.

The Political Funds Control Act of Japan bans companies from making political donations for a one-year period after being notified of a decision to grant government subsidies to them. Media reported that the company was aware of the government decision in May 2012 but made the donation to the LDP chapter in September that year.

If the LDP chapter had accepted the donation with knowledge of the legal ban, Nishikawa would also be held accountable for possible breach of law.

Nishikawa is the first minister to resign after Abe reshuffled his cabinet last September.

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