Japanese press slams Abe over ministerâ€™s suicide
JAPAN: Japanese dailies Tuesday said Prime Minister Shinzo
Abeâ€™s insistence on sticking by a scandal-tainted minister was partly
responsible for his suicide, and would cost him a political price.
Farm Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka, an Abe ally who was under fire
over political donations and rigged contracts, hanged himself Monday,
sending shockwaves through the political establishment.
â€śThere is no doubt that this is the most serious crisis since the Abe
administration began,â€ť the Mainichi Shimbun said in an editorial. The
Nikkei business daily noted that Abe had strongly defended Matsuoka,
â€śignoring calls even by the ruling parties for his resignation.â€ť
â€śIt will be strongly questioned if the prime ministerâ€™s actions were
appropriate,â€ť the Nikkei said in an editorial. Abe, a conservative who
took office in September, has watched his popularity suddenly plummet
due in part to the scandals.
His coalition had earlier been expected to easily win July 22
elections for the upper house of parliament. A defeat in Abeâ€™s first
national election as premier would be a serious embarrassment, although
his party could stay in power due to its majority in the lower house.
The Mainichi Shimbun said Abe may have been concerned about his own
political fortunes in asking the farm minister to stay on, fearing a
resignation would shake his government. â€śDespite demands for Farm
Minister Matsuokaâ€™s resignations over scandals, Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe continued backing him,â€ť the Mainichi said in an analysis.
â€śIt appears that (Abe) was worried about a decline in the
administration,â€ť the daily said. â€śBut it ended in suicide. The prime
ministerâ€™s reaction backfired on him.â€ť
Late Monday, a sullen Abe admitted responsibility, telling reporters:
â€śAs the one who appointed minister Matsuoka to the post, I feel
responsible for the action taken by a cabinet member.â€ť The conservative
Sankei Shimbun said in an editorial: â€śPrime Minister Shinzo Abeâ€™s
responsibility is not small. It will be severely damaging to the
administration ahead of the upper house election.â€ť
Tokyo, Tuesday, AFP.