Japan's Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has conveyed his intention to step down to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, dealing another blow to the government as it faces a series of challenges.
Kan accepted Maehara's resignation on Sunday evening, after 2 hours of talks at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tokyo. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama also attended the meeting.
Maehara said he wants to take responsibility for receiving political donations from a foreign resident in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.
Maehara had admitted receiving about 600 dollars a year for 5 years from the non-Japanese manager of a restaurant in Kyoto.
The opposition parties had demanded his resignation, with some members of the governing Democratic Party saying he should be held accountable for the matter.
The Kan administration will face an uphill battle in steering the government in view of the deep rift within the governing party. The Democrats are split over the party's punishment for its former leader Ichiro Ozawa over his alleged involvement in a political funding scandal.
The opposition parties are expected to further question labor minister Ritsuo Hosokawa in the Diet about his remarks on the government's plan for housewives' pensions