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Vice Trade Minister Nakagawa resigns, admits to extramarital affair on Facebook

Toshinao Nakagawa (Mainichi)

A parliamentary vice minister of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshinao Nakagawa, who resigned from his position on April 18, has admitted to having had an extramarital affair on Facebook.

    Nakagawa, 46, has been replaced by House of Representatives member Masaki Ogushi, 51, according to the government.

    The official reason for Nakagawa's resignation was given as "personal reasons," but his deeply apologetic update on Facebook on April 18 makes it clear that he had an affair, as his apology relates to an article written by the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho commenting on his affair.

    In a tweet released on Twitter by Shukan Shincho, on April 18, the magazine explained that it will be issuing an article on Nakagawa later this week which includes details on a bust-up with his mistress -- who he was "bigamously married to" -- as well as his alleged registration as a stalker by the police.

    In the post on Facebook, Nakagawa states, "Despite having a family, I became very fond of a woman I'd been acquainted with since I was a company employee. I ended up deeply hurting that woman -- for which I deeply apologize. There is no excuse for my unethical behavior. I am extremely sorry. I explained everything to my wife at the end of last year, and I apologized profusely."

    Nakagawa is a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) member of the lower house for the Hiroshima No. 4 constituency, having been elected to that position twice. He previously worked as a journalist at TV Tokyo, and became a secretary to his father Hidenao Nakagawa, who was chief Cabinet secretary, in 2000. He was elected to the lower chamber for the first time in 2012.

    In March, a different weekly magazine wrote an article on Nakagawa stating that he had allegedly had an affair with a female LDP politician.

    This latest PR headache for the LDP comes just a few weeks after former parliamentary vice minister at the Reconstruction Agency, Shunsuke Mutai, made a gaffe relating to rubber boots and his visit to a typhoon-hit area in Iwate Prefecture in 2016. When Mutai visited the area last year, he was piggybacked across a puddle after he forgot to bring his rubber boots. He later made a joke about the incident in March 2017, saying that the rubber boots industry had benefited from the government's apparent mass purchase of the shoes following his puddle incident. Mutai drew sharp criticism over his remark and resigned on March 10.

    In response to Nakagawa's affair, Democratic Party (DP) Diet Affairs Committee chief Kazunori Yamanoi has been critical saying that, "Not only is his behavior unacceptable for someone holding the position of parliamentary vice minister, but there are also question marks over his credentials to be a member of the Diet."

    In addition, a female DP legislator said, "If the allegations against him are true, then this is really unacceptable. He should not be in the Diet while the whole nation is supposed to deal with the problem of stalking."

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