Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apologized for the Finance Ministry's tampering with government documents.
Abe spoke to reporters on Monday upon leaving the Prime Minister's Office.
He described the situation as one that may erode public trust in the entire administration.
He said he feels keenly responsible, and wants to apologize to the Japanese people.
Abe said he is acutely aware that the public is casting a critical eye on the matter, and that he will bear this in mind during its investigation.
Abe said he expects Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso to fulfill his responsibilities. He said he wants Aso to do his utmost to see that there are no similar recurrences, and to reform the ministry to regain public trust.