Japan economy minister Akira Amari quits over graft claims

Japan’s economy minister resigned as he fended off corruption allegations, in a setback for prime minister Shinzo Abe’s effort to rev up growth in the world’s third-largest economy.

Akira Amari choked back tears as he announced his resignation in a televised news conference.

He denied wrongdoing but apologised for causing “concern and trouble” and for undermining public trust in the government with a “very embarrassing situation.”

The corruption scandal surfaced last week after the magazine Weekly Bunshun reported that Amari and his aides accepted at least €90,000 in cash and hospitality from the unnamed construction company.

As economy and fiscal minister since late 2012, Amari has been one of the most trusted members of Mr Abe’s cabinet.

He also served as Japan’s top negotiator for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Amari, 66, is a career politician and son of a lawmaker who was first elected in 1983.

With Mr Amari’s departure, Mr Abe has lost a key ally as he is gearing up for an upper house election in the summer.

During questioning in parliament, Mr Amari said he did not recall clearly the details of meetings in his office with the construction company.


I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent birds arrive to feed their nestlings.Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance by the authorities to face up to the extent of the disease here.Facing up to Lyme disease

A paper published in Current Biology examines the extinction of a colourful little bird which, until recently, thrived in the eastern US. With the appalling environmental catastrophe enveloping Australia, home to 56 of the world’s 370 parrot species, this account of the Carolina parakeet’s demise is timely.Trying to save the parrot is not all talk

The recent rescue of a trawler 20km north of Fanad Head in Co Donegal gave us a glimpse of the enormous seas that occasionally strike that part of the coast.Islands of Ireland: Inishbeg Island begs the question

More From The Irish Examiner