Japan Economy Minister Amari says ‘will do utmost’ to fulfill duties

28 Jan, 2016 1:20 pm

TOKYO – Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Thursday that he would fulfil his responsibility of offering an explanation over reported bribery accusations, and that he wanted to continue fulfilling his duties as minister “with utmost effort”.

Amari, who made the comment in parliament, is due to hold a news conference some time after around 0645 GMT Thursday, according to a government spokesman. Kyodo news agency reported that he plans to deny any wrongdoing.

Last week, Japanese magazine Shukan Bunshun published an article accusing Amari and his aides of accepting money from an unnamed construction company in exchange for helping that firm receive government compensation for disputes over land ownership and waste removal at a public works site.

“I will explain this situation to the Japanese people in a way that leaves no doubt,” Amari said in parliament. “I will continue to give my all to fulfil the responsibilities that I currently have.”

Amari is a close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and core member of his policy team. Amari has played a leading role in the prime minister’s economic policies, and led Japan’s negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade bloc.

If Amari remains in his post, that could ease near-term worries that economy policy will start to lose focus. But some economists say if the problem drags on and new details emerge that could implicate either Amari or his aides, then Amari could come under renewed pressure to give up his post.

The accusations on bribery come at a sensitive time because policy makers are already grappling with a stock market sell-off, a rising yen and worries about a weakening global economy. -Reuters

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