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Japan appoints new justice minister, Makoto Taki

The scandal-plagued justice minister has been replaced amid questions over political funding and his role in a gangster wedding.

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Japanese Justice Minister Makoto Taki speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Tokyo on August 3, 2012. Japan hanged two death-row inmates on August 3, the justice ministry said, bringing the number of executions so far this year to five. (AFP/Getty Images)

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced a new justice minister today after the previous minister, Keishu Tanaka, resigned following claims of alleged gangster ties and acceptance of illegal donations. 

Noda reinstated Makoto Taki, 74, who was justice minister before Tanaka.

Tanaka resigned on Tuesday citing poor health after his past assocations with an organised crime group were reported in the media, the Japan Times reported.

Reuters reported Tanaka resigned within weeks of taking office due to what he said was "ill health".

According to the BBC, Tanaka has admitted he acted as a matchmaker - a ceremonial role - at a gangster's wedding and attended a party thrown by a "yakuza" crime group boss.

Politcal commentators said Taki had a low profile while previously in office, but was praised for his tough stance on Japan's laws for reckless driving.

"Just when I thought the load was off my mind, I feel the weight of responsibility (again). I would like to focus my energy on this job," Taki, 74, said Wednesday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/121024/japan-appoints-new-justice-minister-makoto-taki