Japan justice minister quits over jokes about job

November 22, 2010 08:51

TOKYO — Japan's justice minister resigned Monday over comments that made light of his duty to respond to questioning in parliament, a blow to the ruling Democratic party as it struggles to keep Japan's fragile economic recovery alive.

Minoru Yanagida said Nov. 14 that as justice minister he only needed to remember two comments when facing questions from lawmakers: "I do not comment on specific cases," and "We are dealing with the matter appropriately based on law and evidence."The remarks set off a firestorm of criticism from lawmakers, who demanded he step down from his post. The gaffe is the latest setback for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose plunging support in opinion polls has emboldened the political opposition.

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