Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka urged her ministry's bureaucrats over the weekend to stop resisting change and join her efforts to reform the ministry and eliminate improper handling of taxpayer's money.

Tanaka criticized the bureaucrats for standing in the way of her efforts to clean up the ministry, which has been rocked by scandals including a series of public-fund embezzlement allegations and internal investigation findings that ministry staff have improperly pooled funds.

"They are digging holes and placing land mines in front of me, apparently trying to get me out of the way so they can go back to doing things as they wish," Tanaka said at a town meeting in Wakayama on Saturday.

"But what I want to ask them to do is be part of my reform efforts so that one day in the future, they can reminisce about having taken part in reforming the ministry under Makiko Tanaka," she told an audience of some 430 residents of Wakayama Prefecture.