Japanese Vice Finance Minister resigns for sexual harassment charges

Japanese Finance Ministry’s top bureaucrat resigned over sexual harassment allegations, with criticism mounting about the government’s response to the scandal.


Vice Finance Minister, Junichi Fukuda, denied the accusations but give up his post, claiming that his duties were becoming difficult and unbearable to perform all while the controversy broke out.


photo credit to: https://www.bloombergquint.com

Opposition parties took issue with the government’s decision to accept Fukuda’s resignation without reprimanding him. Finance Minister Taro Aso said the ministry needs to determine the accuracy of sexual harassment claims made by female reporters in the story which were first reported in the Shukan Shincho.


Aso himself has been recieving calls to resign and to take responsibility for having picked Fukuda for the position. But he asserts that he has no intention of doing so, saying that his current priority is to uncover the truth and take measures to ensure this will not be repeated.


Fukuda will not receive retirement benefits, which are estimated to be $487,000, until the ministry decides to take disciplinary action against him. If Fukuda is found guilty, his punishment will be losing his retirement benefits accordingly.


In order to build confidence and get more intelligence on the situation, the Finance Ministry has asked female reporters, who feel they have been sexually harassed by Fukuda, to come forward and contact state-approved lawyers.


The approach, however, has been met with criticism and scepticism by lawmakers and supporters of victims of sexual harassment as lacking sensitivity.


Sexual harassment allegations have become another problem for the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His administration is already shaken by multiple scandals that have seen public support ratings fall sharply in recent months.


The Finance Ministry has faced a barrage of criticism when it admitted that it tampered with documents related to the heavily discounted sale of a state-owned property to a school operator that had ties to the prime minister’s wife, Akie Abe.


Reference: Top Finance Ministry bureaucrat formally resigns over sexual harassment claims as opposition parties call for punishment


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