Japan's newly appointed trade and industry minister plans to resign following reports that some of her support groups misused political funds, Japanese media said. Yuko Obuchi, the 40-year-old daughter of a former premier, had told people close to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that she planned to resign and take responsibility for a furore she caused, the Nikkei newspaper said. "What I have to do right now is to conduct a thorough investigation into the political funding issue," Obuchi said, when asked whether she intended to quit. Obuchi denied claims she was due to meet Abe yesterday upon his return from an Asia-Europe summit in Italy. Her resignation would deal a big blow to Abe, who tapped Obuchi less than two months ago to head the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). She was one of five women Abe chose in a cabinet reshuffle in an effort to bolster his popularity by showing his commitment to promoting women. Seen as a possible future prime minister, Obuchi apologised to a parliamentary panel in the wake of the reports of the misuse of funds, which could violate electoral and political funding laws. "I feel that ignorance is no excuse," Obuchi said on Friday in response to repeated questions. A METI spokesman said he was unaware of any plans by Obuchi to quit. The ministry said later that her visit to central Japan yesterday was cancelled to avoid expected "disorder". No one answered the phone at her political office. Weekly magazine Shukan Shincho reported that two political support groups in Obuchi's constituency had spent some 26 million yen (HK$1.9 million) on theatre tickets for her backers in 2010 and 2011. Major newspapers also followed up on the allegations made by the magazine. Obuchi said she believed her supporters had paid for the theatre events themselves but was aware it would be a violation of the law if her political groups made additional payments. Obuchi had been given the tough task of trying to gain public trust for the unpopular policy of restarting nuclear reactors following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Analysts say the controversy could hinder the restart plan. The ruling coalition has a big majority in parliament, but the opposition Democratic Party (DPJ) has been targeting new cabinet ministers in the hope of denting Abe's popularity. The DPJ on Friday filed a criminal complaint against Justice Minister Midori Matsushima accusing her of violating the election law by distributing paper fans to voters in her district.