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UPDATED: 19:41, December 27, 2006
Japanese administrative reform minister resigns over scandal
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Japanese administrative reform minister Genichiro Sata announced his resignation on Wednesday over allegations that his defunct political support group falsified political fund reports.

The state minister, who is in charge of administrative and regulatory reforms, admitted that there had been "inappropriate accounting" at his office because the accounting officer was "inexperienced," Kyodo News said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has approved Sata's resignation and has asked him to investigate the allegations and give a clear explanation to the public.

The 54-year-old ruling Liberal Democratic Party member said at a press conference later Wednesday that he will retain his seat in the House of Representatives.

Sata is in his sixth term in the lower house. His support group, which disbanded in November, was accused of handing in falsified fund reports to the government to ask for maintenance expenses for an office that didn't exist.

If the allegations were found to be true, Sata could face criminal charges.

Analysts said the case would give another blow to Abe's Cabinet. The prime minister's chief tax reform adviser Masaaki Homma resigned last week over scandals that he used his official apartment in a luxurious hotel to live with a lover.

Source: Xinhua

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