Washington Babylon — February 17, 2009, 9:10 am

A Real Vetting Problem: Japanese minister quits after “drunken appearance” at news conference

From AP, via Talkingpointsmemo:

Japan’s finance minister abruptly resigned Tuesday over allegations he made a drunken appearance at a G-7 news conference, shaking Prime Minister Taro Aso’s already deeply unpopular government. The resignation was a huge embarrassment for Aso — who has been in office only since late September — and a blow to Japan’s efforts to deal with an economy that shrank at its fastest rate in 35 years in the fourth quarter and shows no signs of reversing course anytime soon…

Nakagawa has been under fire over allegations he appeared to be drunk at a news conference following the G-7 finance ministers meeting in Rome over the weekend. TV footage showed him slurring his speech and looking drowsy and confused. Nakagawa has said he took cold medicine, which, along with jet lag, made him groggy.

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