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Citing health concerns, Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa said Tuesday he would not try to retain his ministerial post even if Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi wins the LDP presidential election on Saturday.

Speaking at a regular news conference, Shiokawa said he would not resign immediately.

When asked whether he would do so when Koizumi reshuffles his Cabinet, however, he said, “That’s correct.”

The 81-year-old finance minister returned to work on Tuesday, having been hospitalized since Sept. 3, complaining of stomach problems. He was diagnosed with acute gallbladder inflammation caused by gallstones.

Shiokawa said it would take him some time to regain his strength, as he has lost 6 kg as a result of his illness.

For the next week, Shiokawa will go to work while staying in the hospital overnight.

He also said he would not attend a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers in Dubai this week, adding that Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui and Zembei Mizoguchi, vice minister of finance for international affairs, would attend the meeting.

Shiokawa has served as finance minister since April 2001, when Koizumi appointed him shortly after taking office.

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