Thursday, April 27, 2017

Japan Minister Quits over Remarks about 2011 Tsunami

The Japanese minister for disaster reconstruction, Masahiro Imamura, stepped down Wednesday over a gaffe that has enraged Tohoku residents.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rushed to limit political damage by immediately appointing a Fukushima lawmaker to replace him.

“Yesterday Minister Imamura made extremely inappropriate remarks in a speech that badly hurt the feelings of people in the disaster-hit areas,” Abe told reporters after receiving the letter of resignation at the Prime Minister’s Office, Japan Times reported.

“I, as the prime minister, bear the responsibility for appointing him. I apologize to the people for this result from the bottom of my heart,” Abe said.

Abe also said, “We will do our best to achieve reconstruction” of the Tohoku area.

Abe then announced the appointment of Masayoshi Yoshino, who has served as the chairman of the special Lower House committee on Tohoku reconstruction.

During a fundraising party on Tuesday in Tokyo, Imamura said in a speech that “it was better” that the 2011 quake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region and not near Tokyo, because the disaster would have caused an “enormous amount” of financial damage to the country.

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