• Kyodo


Shoichi Nakagawa, who resigned as finance minister this week over his apparent drunken behavior at a Group of Seven news conference in Rome on Feb. 14, was in a similarly foggy state during a bilateral meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin earlier in the day, sources in Rome said Friday.

According to the sources, a Russian diplomat who attended the meeting said Nakagawa behaved “as if the power switch of his brain had been turned off” during the 15-minute meeting.

Nakagawa looked exhausted and his health was apparently poor, which prompted the Russian official to suspect he was suffering badly from jet lag, the sources said.

At one time during the meeting, Nakagawa closed his eyes and did not respond for a while, the sources said.

The Russian side, although it had its own translator, could only understand what Nakagawa was saying through the translator on the Japanese side, the sources said.

Nakagawa, who is known to be a heavy drinker, stepped down Tuesday after suspicion was raised that he might have been drunk at the news conference.

Nakagawa denied the allegations and claimed he acted strangely because he took too much cold medicine earlier in the day.

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