31 July 2017

News Story: Despite resigning, doubts remain over Inada's role in suspected cover-up

Tomomi Inada (Image: Wiki Commons)
Tomomi Inada resigned as defense minister on July 28, but doubts over her involvement in a suspected cover-up concerning the daily activity logs of Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops serving as U.N. peacekeepers in South Sudan still remain.

In the end, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe essentially had no choice but to accept Inada's resignation -- following criticism and doubts from both his own Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and opposition parties over his unwavering support for his gaffe-prone Cabinet colleague.

Furthermore, the scandal involving peacekeepers' logs, in which the GSDF opposed Inada who has lost control over the force, has raised questions about how to secure civilian control over the Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

At a press conference on July 28, during which Inada announced her resignation, she said, "I repeatedly conveyed my thoughts sincerely (to Abe). I let him know that I was thinking of stepping down," making it clear that she consulted regularly with Abe about the timing of her resignation.

Inada's announcement on this day fell about one month after she made a gaffe on June 27 during the build up to the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, when she told voters, "I would like to ask for your support on behalf of the Defense Ministry and the SDF."

According to a source close to the LDP, Inada immediately recognized that she had phrased her request badly, and seemed to hint at resignation even then, using the words, "I feel a sense of responsibility (concerning the gaffe)." However, Abe encouraged her to stay on, and she refrained from throwing in the towel. Apparently, she had also been warned, "You don't quit this job unless the prime minister tells you to."

Read the full story at The Mainichi