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Politics

Top ministry bureaucrat quits for leaking penalty info to Japan Post

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The top bureaucrat at the internal affairs ministry resigned Friday for leaking administrative penalty information to Japan Post Holdings Co., which is under fire over improper sales of insurance products, the ministry said.

Shigeki Suzuki, vice minister at the ministry, resigned from the post after the ministry decided to suspend him for three months for leaking a draft penalty plan to Japan Post Holdings, the former state-owned postal and financial services group which was privatized in 2007.

"The conduct constitutes an act that hurts trust and the neutrality of official duties," Sanae Takaichi, minister of internal affairs and communications, said at a news conference.

Takaichi added she will voluntarily return three months of her salary over the incident.

The ministry said Suzuki leaked the information to Japan Post Holdings Senior Executive Vice President Yasuo Suzuki, a former vice minister at the ministry.

Japan Post Holdings said Wednesday its probe uncovered more than 12,836 cases of insurance product sales suspected of violating a law or in-house rules at two subsidiaries in the five years through March this year.

The ministry has said it was considering an administrative penalty on Japan Post in the wake of the improper sales at the units Japan Post Insurance Co. and Japan Post Co.

The Financial Services Agency is also expected to issue orders to halt some business at the units, sources close to the matter said earlier.

The government now owns a 57 percent stake in Japan Post Holdings.

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