The public relations chief for Japan’s prime minister has resigned after she acknowledged she had a \70,000 dinner paid for by a broadcaster.
Makiko Yamada had been grilled recently by opposition lawmakers in the Diet about the 2019 dinner and had been scheduled to answer more questions March 1.
Yamada’s job included the responsibility of picking reporters to ask questions at Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s news conferences.
The broadcaster in question, Tohokushinsha Film Corp., employs Suga’s eldest son. That has raised suspicions of cronyism in a nation where plum jobs are often hard to come by without connections.
Accepting lavish wining and dining is a violation of regulations overseeing bureaucrats’ ethics. The ministry officials allegedly accepted several such dinners, as well as cab fares.
Other ministry bureaucrats reportedly at the dinner have been penalized. The president of Tohokushinsha resigned in February.
Government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told the Diet on March 1 that Yamada resigned. She was hospitalized for two weeks for an illness and can’t carry on her duties, and Suga accepted the resignation, Kato said. Details of her sickness were not given.