Japan Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara Quits

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has decided to step down amid growing calls for him to do so for illegally receiving a donation from a South Korean supporter, a source close to him said Sunday.

Maehara, viewed as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan, will be the first minister to resign since Kan reshuffled his Cabinet in January, and his resignation will be widely seen as dealing a serious blow to the government.

After the Democratic Party of Japan took power in September 2009, the 48-year-old politician served as transport minister before assuming the portfolio of foreign minister in September 2010.

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