The Democratic Party on Sept. 8 accepted the resignation of Shiori Yamao from its ranks only days after being named to the party's No. 2 post, following a potentially scandalous story in a weekly magazine.

The move is an embarrassment to Seiji Maehara, the new party head who initially picked Yamao to be the party's secretary-general.

However, when rumors in the article surfaced about an affair involving Yamao, Maehara quickly switched his selection to party stalwart Atsushi Oshima.

On Sept. 7, Yamao read out a statement in which she denied the affair as reported in the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine.

However, she said she had decided to leave the party because she did not "want to cause trouble by introducing confusion to Diet deliberations."

Some participants at the Democratic Party meeting on Sept. 8 said it would be wrong to accept Yamao's resignation after she denied the magazine's report.

However, after the decision was made to allow her to leave, Maehara told reporters, "While (her leaving the party) is extremely regrettable, decisions about their status should be left up to each individual lawmaker. I want to respect her request because she made the comprehensive decision that she caused trouble at the start of my new party administration."

Maehara wants to quickly put the matter to rest because he faces the start of an extraordinary Diet session later in September as well as a Lower House by-election in three districts in October.

The scandal, just a week after he was elected party president, will make it that much more difficult for Maehara to turn around the main opposition party's fortunes.

Yamao first made a name for herself by challenging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Diet deliberations about his administration's slow pace in establishing day-care centers. As a former prosecutor, Yamao also was an outspoken Democratic Party questioner during deliberations on the controversial anti-conspiracy legislation, which passed earlier this year.

In her statement, Yamao explained that the married lawyer she met in the hotel room as reported in the magazine served as a policy adviser as they discussed various legal issues, including the Constitution. She denied having sex with the man and said she stayed in the hotel room by herself.

But she apologized for the trouble she caused by actions that could lead to a misunderstanding.