A Japanese government minister has resigned after a joke he made backfired and caused outrage.
Minoru Yanagida boasted that his job as justice minister was easy because he only had to remember two phrases in parliament: “I will not comment on particular cases”, and “we are dealing with the matter in line with the law”.
Although many might recognise the formulaic nature of ministerial question-and-answer sessions, he has been accused of lacking respect for parliament.
The minister said he was stepping down so as not to jeopardise the new budget.
Opposition groups had said they would boycott a debate on an emergency stimulus package for the economy unless he resigned.
However analysts say Yanagida’s departure might add to the problems of Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan, whose ratings have plummeted over his handling of the economy and recent territorial rows with China and Russia.