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Nobuteru Ishihara, former secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said Friday that he will resign as a special adviser to the cabinet over the controversial receipt of a government subsidy for COVID-19 relief.

Ishihara told Kishida that he will resign to take responsibility for the receipt of the employment adjustment subsidy by a political group he heads.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties had planned to grill Kishida over the matter at budget committee meetings next week in both chambers of Japan’s parliament, known as the Diet.

Ishihara was defeated in the Oct. 31 election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet.

On Dec. 3, however, he was appointed as a special adviser to the Cabinet in charge of an initiative to reinvigorate Japan’s ailing tourism industry.

The appointment was met with criticism, as Ishihara is personally close to the prime minister.

Later, it came to light that last year Tokyo’s No. 8 district chapter of the LDP, headed by Ishihara, received employment adjustment funds totaling ¥600,000 when the subsidy rate was higher than usual amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Even within the LDP-led ruling coalition, some members said that the receipt of the subsidy was inappropriate.

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