Yuko Obuchi, Japan’s economy, trade and industry minister, attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Obuchi resigned today over allegations that her support groups misused political funds,
Reports of the resignation of Japan’s Trade and Industry minister on Monday have raised questions about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s levels of public support and the future of Abenomics.
Forty-year old Yuko Obuchi, the daughter of a prime minister and tipped to become Japan’s first female premier, tendered her resignation over allegations her support groups misused political funds, according to local media reports.
“I do expect there will be a major impact on Abenomics and the reform process because… when ministers are stepping down or getting damaged, politics becomes very difficult in Japan again,” Martin Schulz, senior economist at Fujitsu Research Institute told CNBC.
Hours after Obuchi’s resignation, Justice Minister Midori Matsushima also resigned, after the opposition Democratic Party filed a criminal complaint against her last week, accusing her of violating the election law by distributing paper fans.
Obuchi and Matsushima were two of the five female cabinet members appointed in a cabinet reshuffle two months ago, in a move seen as an attempt by Abe to boost his popularity and demonstrate his commitment to encouraging more women back to work in Japan.