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Labor minister quits over allegations of affair with secretary

2014/07/24 20:04:18

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei confirmed Thursday afternoon that he has verbally tendered his resignation amid rumors that he had an inappropriate relationship with his secretary.

Pan took the initiative to contact reporters and maintained a casual tone as he denied any wrongdoing.

"The administrative team (the Cabinet) needs to keep moving forward, and it shouldn't have to scratch its head over personal issues," he said, adding that the decision to step down was his own.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah reportedly accepted his resignation later in the evening.

Next Magazine, a local weekly notorious for its exposés and celebrity gossip, unveiled in its Wednesday edition that the married Pan visited his personal secretary at her home repeatedly and stayed until late at night.

Pan responded Thursday that he saw his secretary, a former student of his, as a daughter and denied any illicit relationship, saying the alleged affair was a misunderstanding caused by his own "American-style" laid-back and direct personality.

While media reports that day indicated his secretary was preparing to file defamation charges against Next Magazine, Pan said he would not take legal action because he feels he has already given an adequate explanation for the situation.

Before the premier's answer to his request to step down, the afternoon was business as usual for the 58-year-old, who has been the head of labor affairs since October 2012 and oversaw the transformation of the Council of Labor Affairs into the Ministry of Labor earlier this year.

Asked about his plans after stepping down, Pan laughed and said that the classes he teaches at Chinese Culture University in Taipei could see a spike in popularity thanks to the media spotlight put on him.

Alternatively, he said all smiles, "I can retire."

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Wesley Holzer)