Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Minister quits after gaffe-strewn visit to tsunami-stricken region

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-07-05

Japan's disaster reconstruction minister, Ryu Matsumoto, resigned Tuesday after just a week on the job, having been criticised for offending locals and officials on a visit to a tsunami-stricken area.

AP - A week into his new job, Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister resigned Tuesday after making remarks widely criticized as offensive during a visit to the tsunami-devastated northeastern coast, where he refused to shake a governor’s hand, scolded the official and threatened to withhold aid.

In meetings with local governors over the weekend, Ryu Matsumoto’s words were regarded as arrogant and uncaring, angering local residents and political opponents. He told the governor of Iwate, one of the hardest-hit prefectures, that the government would not help municipalities that did not have good ideas about rebuilding.

To Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai, Matsumoto expressed irritation that he was made to wait for the tardy governor. Matsumoto refused to shake Murai’s hand when he entered the room and scolded the visibly surprised governor.

“When a guest comes to visit, do not call up the guest until you have arrived in the room,” he told Murai. “Do you understand?”

He then warned journalists in the room not to report his words. They were widely reported in the media, and a video of the exchange was posted on the Internet.

The resignation is a new blow to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is likely to face renewed pressure to step down himself. The March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis brought out deep rifts within Kan’s party and strengthened the largest opposition bloc, which has denounced his response as dithering and poorly coordinated.

Kan’s appointment of 60-year-old Matsumoto to the newly created post of disaster reconstruction minister was an effort to bolster his administration against criticism of its handling of the crises.

Jin Sato, the outspoken mayor of badly damaged Minami Sanriku, said the minister’s comments deeply upset disaster victims already frustrated with the recovery process.

“I have been saying all along that this government has no sense of speed,” he said on public broadcaster NHK. “My frank opinion is that this resignation drama is another misstep.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that Kan accepted Matsumoto’s resignation and hoped to appoint a replacement as soon as possible.

At a hastily arranged news conference Tuesday, Matsumoto apologized for his comments. He also stepped down from his second post of disaster management minister.

“I felt that I was the person closest to the disaster victims,” a teary-eyed Matsumoto said. “But I sincerely apologize that my words hurt their feelings because they were insufficient or rough.”

The disaster devastated Japan’s northeastern coast, destroying towns, homes and businesses. More than 22,600 people are dead or missing.

Kan took office just over a year ago. He is Japan’s fifth leader in four years.

He has said he is willing to step down, but only after major steps are made toward putting Japan’s recovery on solid footing. He has also set several preconditions, including the passage of budget bills and a renewable energy measure.

Matsumoto’s resignation will not affect the length of the prime minister’s tenure, Edano said. With so much work to do, it would be “irresponsible” for Kan to step away now, he said.

 

Date created : 2011-07-05

  • JAPAN - FUKUSHIMA

    UN slams Fukushima safety measures before tsunami

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    IAEA: Japan underestimated nuclear plant tsunami risk

    Read more

  • JAPAN

    Strong earthquake hits tsunami-ravaged northeast

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)