Two Japanese ministers resigned on Monday, serving a major blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration. Both of the ministers are women, and their resignations come as Abe has been promoting “womenomics” and the hiring of females as a cornerstone of his tenure. Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi announced she was stepping down over allegations she misused funds from political support groups and failed to report as much as $424,000 in her political funds report. “I feel sorry that I could not contribute anything to various issues such as the economic recovery and the realization of a society where women can shine, and I apologize,” Obuchi said in a televised statement. Midori Matsushima submitted her resignation just a few hours later. Matsushima is accused of violating Japan’s strict election laws banning gifts to voters by giving paper fans with caricatures of her political opponents to a crowd at a summer festival. “I myself do not think I did anything that violates any law, but I am resigning as I don’t wish to cause any more paralysis,” said Matsushima. These are the first national political resignations since Abe was elected in December 2012.
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