Japan's embattled finance minister Taro Aso mulling over skipping G-20 gathering

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso at a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, on March 9, 2018.
Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso at a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo, on March 9, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's finance minister is considering skipping a Group of 20 finance leaders' gathering in Buenos Aires next week, Kyodo news agency reported, as a suspected cover-up of a cronyism scandal paralyses Parliament and puts his job on the line.

Premier Shinzo Abe and his close ally, Finance Minister Taro Aso, are under pressure over the Finance Ministry's announcement it had altered records of a discounted sale of state-owned land to a school operator with ties to Mr Abe's wife.

While Mr Aso told reporters on Monday (March 12) he had no intention to resign, opposition lawmakers are calling for the minister to step down to take responsibility for the scandal.

Mr Aso was scheduled to attended the G-20 gathering from March 19-20, where finance leaders from major economies are set to debate global economic developments, rising fears of protectionism and cryptocurrencies.

Kyodo, quoting ruling party lawmakers, said Mr Aso is considering skipping the G-20 meeting as the Parliament debate on next fiscal year's Budget has been delayed due to the scandal.