Japan’s struggling Liberal Democrat government has suffered a new blow with the resignation of the defence minister after comments he made about the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was already reeling after a scandal over mishandled pension records.
Now, Fumio Kyuma’s view that the 1945 atomic bombings “could not be helped” have further weakened the administration, with crucial upper house elections just three weeks away. National Security Adviser Yuriko Koike is expected to succeed Kyuma and become Japan’s first female defence minister.
More than 360,000 people died after the two atomic bombs were dropped to end the Second World War. The attacks are deeply important to Japan, which has long been criticised for seeing itself as a victim, while failing to acknowledge its own war crimes.