| GEO World|
| Japan finance minister steps down|
| Updated at: 1434 PST, Tuesday, February 17, 2009|
TOKYO: Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa has said he will resign for health reasons, amid claims that he was drunk at a recent G7 meeting.
Mr. Nakagawa said he would resign after the lower house of parliament passed the government's budget. He earlier apologised for his behaviour at last weekend's news conference in Rome but blamed cold remedies for a slurred performance there. He said he had not drunk more than a sip of alcohol before facing the media.
Mr Nakagawa's resignation is seen as a major blow to Prime Minister Taro Aso's government in an election year.