May 21, 2019

Japan’s reconstruction minister quits after one week in job

"I will be gone from now" - that has to be a finalist in the resignation speech of the year contest.

Japan’s new Minister for Reconstruction, Ryu Matsumoto has announced his resignation after just a week in the job following insensitive comments he made to governors’ of tsunami affected areas.

Matsumoto had been widely criticised for threatening the governors’ that the government would not help them financially unless they came up with good re-building proposals.

An emotional Mr Matsumoto announced his resignation at a Tokyo press conference early on Tuesday, but gave no reason for his departure.

“I have many things I would like to say… But I will be gone from now,” he was quoted as saying.

The 60-year-old made the offending remarks to regional governors during a tour of tsunami-hit prefectures of Iwate and Miyagi on Sunday.

Mr Matsumoto also berated Miyagi Prefecture Governor Yoshihiro Murai for keeping him waiting. He then ordered journalists filming the exchange that it should not be broadcast, saying their networks would suffer if it was.

The resignation will increase pressure on Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan who is fronting a deply unpopular government.

Last month Mr Kan survived a no-confidence vote motion brought by MPs critical of his handling of the reconstruction process following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.