Japanese Media Say Justice Minister to Resign Monday

TOKYO -- Japan's justice minister will resign Monday to take responsibility for recent comments seen as dodging his duty to respond to questioning in the parliament, local media reported.

Minoru Yanagida made the comments earlier this month, and a key opposition party was preparing a censure motion against him and threatening to boycott parliamentary deliberations on an extra stimulus budget if he didn't quit.

News of the minister's resignation -- reported by public broadcaster NHK and the Kyodo News agency -- is the latest blow to the administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, whose falling support in polls has emboldened the political opposition.

Kan has been weakened by public anger over recent diplomatic spats with China and Russia. Parliamentary debate over a crucial $61 billion stimulus package was held up over Kan's handling of leaked video footage of a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese patrol vessels near disputed islands.

In June, Shizuka Kamei, the financial services and postal reform minister who heads a small coalition party, resigned from his Cabinet post, saying the ruling party had breached an agreement to quickly pass a bill aimed at scaling back the privatization of Japan's postal system.