Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari says he is resigning to take responsibility for a political funding scandal that has rocked the government, but denies having taken bribes. Sara Hemrajani reports.
A swift exit by one of Japan's top politicians. Economy Minister Akira Amari has announced his resignation following recent allegations of bribery. A media report claimed his office accepted cash in return for favours. Amari admits the money was received - but insists it was a donation that was mishandled by staff. He's resigning - he says - because he doesn't want the scandal to hurt Japan's recovery efforts. SOUNDBITE: Akira Amari, Japan's outgoing economy minister, saying (Japanese): "In order to beat deflation and create a strong economy, we need to pass the budget and necessary legislation through parliament as soon as possible. Anything that hampers this must be eliminated, and I'm no exception." Amari was overseeing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to boost Japan's flatlining economy - dubbed "Abenomics". Some fear his departure could have an impact on the Asian powerhouse. But Nandini Ramakrishnan from JP Morgan Asset Management says it doesn't have to. SOUNDBITE: Nandini Ramakrishnan, Global Market Strategist, JP Morgan Asset Management, saying (English): "It doesn't derail the general sense of the Abenomics principle of pushing all factors forward to get this economy to really work, whether it's through inflation, growth, fixing the employment situation. Certainly not a good time for this happen but also nothing that would derail the story of Japan and Abenomics trying to come into effect in that country." Abe has already named Nobuteru Ishihara as his new right-hand man. But with several high-profile resignations linked to his government, Abe will be hoping this new appointment stays scandal free.