Tags: japan | trade | minister

Japan's New Trade Minister Resigns in Flap

Sunday, 11 Sep 2011 01:33 PM

Japanese Trade Minister Yoshio Hachiro resigned nine days into the job after being criticized for making flippant remarks about the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Hachiro, already under fire for calling areas near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant “towns of death,” rubbed his shirtsleeve against a reporter saying, “Do you want some radiation?,” the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier today.

Hachiro apologized for “causing trouble,” and undermining the trust in government of the people hit hardest by the disaster.

An earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11 left around 20,000 people dead or missing and triggered the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who was elected leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan last month, has spent his first days in office trying to convince the public that atomic power is needed to save the economy.

Hachiro, 63, was appointed Sept. 2 when Noda named his Cabinet. The trade ministry oversees nuclear policy.

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