/

Justice Minister Matsushima quits; Abe apologizes for appointing her

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday accepted the resignation of Justice Minister Midori Matsushima after she offered to quit over alleged violations of the election campaign law.

Matsushima’s resignation quickly followed that of Yuko Obuchi, who stepped down Monday morning as minister of economy, trade and industry.

Abe told reporters in the afternoon that both Obuchi and Matsushima had said they could not let the allegations against them impede government business. He said he had decided to respect their wishes.

“I bear responsibility for having appointed them. I deeply apologize,” Abe said.

Matsushima, one of five female ministers appointed in the Cabinet reshuffle in September, allegedly distributed custom-made “uchiwa” (handheld fans) bearing her image to people attending a summer festivals in the Tokyo No. 14 district, which she represents.

Giving voters goods, even such apparently insubstantial gratuities, is prohibited by law.