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      Japan Gov't Crisis: Justice Minister Hobnobbed With Mobsters

      Revelations that his newly appointed Justice Minister associated with mobsters have heaped further woes on Japanese PM Noda.
      By Amiel Ungar
      First Publish: 10/22/2012, 12:58 AM

      Keishu Tanaka
      Keishu Tanaka
      Reutes

      The government of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda continues to sustain shock after shock, with the imminent departure of Keishu Tanaka, the Justice Minister. Even though the 74 -year-old Tanaka has refused to resign and hospitalized himself to ward off the pestering, it is hard to see how he can survive in a post that he only assumed 18 days ago.

      He also docked a parliamentary hearing and the opposition-controlled upper house, in violation of article 63 of the Japanese Constitution

      First, the Democratic Party of Japan branch that Tanaka headed received donations from a Taiwanese businessman living in Japan. Japanese law bars politicians from receiving contributions from foreigners or foreign controlled corporations.

      A few years back, this law was even used when a Korean restaurant owner who had been living in Japan for 40 years and was a personal friend of a politician, gave a small campaign donation.

      It was also revealed that the Justice Minister, 30 years ago, attended a party run by a yakuza (Japanese organized crime) bigwig. While the Justice Minister at first claimed that this was ancient history, Tanaka, reported the Daily Beast, kept up relations with the Japanese mafia on the basis of interviews with gang members and police officers.

      With such damning information, even members of the DPJ have called upon the minister to resign.

      As Tanaka is presumably dead meat, the opposition is using the affair to further discredit Prime Minister Noda. The recent cabinet reshuffle was advertised as improving government performance, but the Prime Minister's track record in cabinet selection has not proven fortunate. Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General  Shigeru Ishiba criticized Noda and said he bore the responsibility for appointing such an unsuitable candidate for the job.