Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa resigned Friday, becoming the first Cabinet-level casualty in a widening scandal over conflicting statements about his involvement in questionable stock purchases.

"I have many regrets, but we are not getting anywhere without clearing this deadlock," Miyazawa told a news conference after submitting his resignation to Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita.Miyazawa, who is also giving up his position as deputy prime minister, said he is stepping down to help pave the way for passage of sweeping tax reform bills.