Japan trade minister resigns over Fukushima comments: media

Japan trade minister resigns over Fukushima comments: media

 The resignation of Trade Minister Yoshio Hachiro, who handles the energy portfolio, will give opposition parties ammunition for attack as Noda strives to end the radiation crisis at the Fukushima plant while tackling a plethora of challenges from rebuilding after the March earthquake and tsunami to curbing huge public debt.

Radiation joke

Hachiro submitted his resignation to Noda after reports that he joked with a reporter about radiation from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, Jiji news agency and other domestic media reported. It was his second remark seen as offensive to victims of the worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

Japanese media said Hachiro had attempted to rub up against a reporter saying “I’ll give you radiation” after visiting the Fukushima plant.

Opposition party leaders criticised the remark and said that they would press Noda himself over his responsibility for appointing Hachiro, NHK public TV reported.

Hachiro had already been rebuked by Noda and apologised on Friday for calling the deserted area near the plant a “town of death”.

Noda, who took over as Japan’s sixth prime minister in five years after predecessor Naoto Kan resigned, will face harsh questioning over his appointment of Hachiro and other novice ministers.

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