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Deputy land minister Ichiro Tsukada resigned Friday, days after using contentious wording to claim he had influenced the allocation of funds for a major highway project he believed was favored by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.

Tsukada made the remark on April 1 during a campaign rally for a candidate, backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, running in the Fukuoka gubernatorial election set to be held Sunday.

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