Japanese Economy Minister Steps Down Amid Funding Scandal

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Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi stepped down on Monday over a scandal that implicated her support groups in misuse of political funds.

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi stepped down on Monday over a scandal that implicated her support groups in misuse of political funds.

Obuchi tendered her resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe early in the morning. Speaking at a press conference, she said she was sorry for causing trouble, and vowed to focus on the investigation into the alleged embezzlement.

"I have asked lawyers and auditors to thoroughly investigate accounts of the support groups and political foundations. It will take some time and I want to focus on this problem to make the results public as soon as possible and restore my good name," Obuchi said, adding she did not want the scandal to affect the sphere of economy she was responsible for as a minister.

Reports transpired last Thursday that the minister's two support groups had underreported their spending on annual theater events. Financial records also showed discrepancies in income and spending for the events.

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