He has only been in the job a week. But insensitive comments about Japan’s earthquake and tsunami have forced the Minister for Reconstruction to resign.
The opposition outcry over Ryu Matsumoto’s comments had threatened to further hinder efforts by unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to pass key bills in parliament.
60-year-old Matsumoto gave journalists no reason for his resignation. But he apologised for hurting the victims’ feelings by using harsh words and lacking empathy.
Matsumoto was widely criticised for remarks he made to officials during a visit to the stricken region last Sunday. He told them only areas that came up with decent ideas for reconstruction would get government funding.