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Defense Minister Tomomi Inada fended off calls for her resignation Wednesday after she suggested a day earlier that the Self-Defense Forces backed a Liberal Democratic Party candidate in the upcoming Tokyo assembly election despite the SDF’s strict policy of political neutrality.

While campaigning for the candidate on Tuesday vying for a seat in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward, Inada was recorded by the media as telling a crowd of local supporters: “On behalf of the Defense Ministry, the SDF and the LDP and as Defense Minister, I ask for your support.”

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