TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Olympic Minister, Yoshitaka Sakurada, resigned on Wednesday after he made remarks that offended people affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered nuclear meltdowns in 2011.
Sakurada’s resignation comes only a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“Minister Sakurada offered to resign as he made comments that hurt the feelings of those in the disaster affected areas,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after he accepted Sakurada’s resignation.
“It is the Abe government’s unwavering policy to do everything we can for recovery while keeping in touch with the feelings of people in disaster-hit areas … As prime minister, I would like to offer my deep apology for the comment.”
Abe has decided to tap lower house lawmaker Shunichi Suzuki, who was Olympic minister before Sakurada took the post last October, to fill the vacancy, public broadcaster NHK said.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; editing by Darren Schuettler/Keith Weir)