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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 06:07 GMT 07:07 UK
Japan minister quits over scandal
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi vowed to clean up politics
Japan's agriculture minister has resigned over bribery allegations involving a former aide.

Minister Tadamori Oshima has been under fire for months over allegations that his former aide accepted six million yen ($50,000) in political donations during the 2000 parliamentary elections, and used the money for personal ends.

"I handed in my resignation and it was accepted," Mr Oshima told reporters on Monday.

It is another embarrassment for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who came to power promising to clean up politics.

Since last year two MPs from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have been arrested over money scandals.

Mr Oshima, who was appointed farm minister in a reshuffle last September, has not resigned from his seat in parliament.

Mr Oshima told parliament last month that his former aide used the election funds for personal reasons, but said he had returned the money.

In a separate scandal, another aide is suspected of taking bribes from company officials in return for helping them win a contract for a public works project. Mr Oshima denies any wrongdoing in that case.

Mr Oshima was first elected to the lower house of parliament in 1983 and has served in several Cabinet positions including deputy chief cabinet secretary, education minister and environment minister.

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16 Jul 02  |  Asia-Pacific
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