TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - National broadcaster NHK has revealed Tomomi’s plans to step down although the office of the minister on Thursday declined to comment on the report.
The NHK has said that Tomomi will resign Friday after the publication of the results of an investigation into media reports that the minister knew about efforts by senior defense officials to cover up information about worsening security situation in South Sudan, where Japanese troops were deployed to serve in the UN-led mission in the war-torn country.
The broadcaster said Inada, who had initially denied she consented to hiding the logs on South Sudan, will take responsibility for the scandal after resigning.
The defense minister is a close associate of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Experts say a series of missteps by her has seriously damaged Abe’s popularity and the prime minister was planning to replace Inada in a cabinet reshuffle, which is reportedly planned for early next month.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency said former defense officials, including Itsunori Onodera, who served as defense minister for nearly two years from 2012, are among Abe’s main candidates to replace Inada. They said Abe’s policy was to appoint someone who had already served in the post so that he could project an image of stability amid numerous scandals his cabinet is involved in, Presstv reported.
Japan’s Defense Ministry also declined from confirming reports that General Toshiya Okabe, chief of staff of the Ground Self Defense Forces, has decided to resign over the cover-up scandal.