Japan's embattled finance minister mulling skipping G20 gathering: media

By Leika Kihara
FILE PHOTO - Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks to reporters in Tokyo, Japan March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

By Leika Kihara

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 Abe's wife.

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

Aso was scheduled to attended the G20 gathering on 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 Aso is considering skipping the G20 meeting as parliament debate on next fiscal year's budget has been delayed due to the scandal.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by James Dalgleish)