Japan Finance Minister Denies Being Drunk, Quits Anyway
Official mocked over slurred conference
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2009 3:04 AM CST

(Newser) – Japan's finance chief has announced his resignation amid public ridicule over a news conference where he slurred his words and appeared drunk, Reuters reports. Shoichi Nakagawa, who seemed to fall asleep during the Rome conference of G-7 ministers, denies he was intoxicated and insists the few sips of wine he had reacted badly with cold medicine he was taking.

"I have caused trouble to the people," Nakagawa said as he announced plans to step down after budget bills are passed. "I apologize for causing commotion from my careless health management." The loss of Nagakawa comes as a huge blow to Prime Minister Taro Aso's already unpopular government, which is struggling with the nation's worst economic crisis since 1974.