Relief in Japan as Gaffes Weaken Yen

Embarrassing videos of Japan's Finance Minister, coupled with Prime Minister Aso's record-low approval ratings, have led, finally, to a weakening yen
Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa arrived at the official residence of Prime Minister Taro Aso in Tokyo on February 17, 2009 to offer his resignation after appearing to be drunk at the Group of Seven meeting in Rome. TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

After an acutely embarrassing performance at the G-7 meeting in Rome on Feb. 14, Japan's Finance Minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, quickly became something of a global star. YouTube video clips of him, seemingly drunk at a press conference, were an instant Internet hit. As global news channels, looking for some light relief from the credit crunch, also broadcast the slurring Nakagawa, his fame spread further. In Japan, though, the abject performance, which Nakagawa blamed on strong cold medicine, came in for intense criticism and the 55-year-old resigned on Feb. 17.

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