Japan’s prime minister has suffered a setback with the resignation of his trade and industry minister.
Yuko Obuchi, once tipped as a future premier, has been forced to quit over allegations that her support groups misused political funds.
She was one of five women appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a cabinet reshuffle less than two months ago. It was intended to boost his popularity and show his commitment to promoting women.
Abe’s public support has recently fallen as he prepares to take tough policy decisions including whether to raise an already unpopular sales tax.
Abe had also hoped to use the popular Obuchi to promote his nuclear policy – that of restarting offline nuclear reactors – which is opposed by over 60 percent of the population following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.