Japan’s hopes for its sixth new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to be more successful than his previous predecessors in less than 5 years plummeted after the barely a week old cabinet suffered a set back after the very recently appointed Japanese Minister of Trade and Industry Yoshio Hachiro resigned due to public outrage over an “offensive” joke about radiation.
Japan’s fifth and previous Prime Minister Naoto Kan of the Democratic Party of Japan was forced to resign after both party and public pressure over his struggles to cope with the Fukushima nuclear plant incident and the resulting 20,000 deaths and damages left over from flooding and the strong earthquake.
On the condition that two particular bills concerning reconstruction and deficit financing be passed, Naoto Kan promptly resigned leaving vacancy for Yoshihiko Noda to take over after a quick election the following week.
Now-former Trade and Industry Minister Yoshio Hachiro faced brutal barrages of criticism by both the public and media after calling the areas around the Fukushima nuclear plants “dead towns”.
While the remark is relatively on par with the comments of most other politicians and analysts and Hachiro did in fact apologize for the remark that “drained hope from the citizens who had homes there”, what really agitated everyone was his subsequent joke: Hachiro pretended to rub his sleeve against a reporter then joked “I will give you radiation” right after his visit to the nuclear plant.
Opposing political parties of course jumped on this insensitivity which was made all the more insulting because the Ministry of Trade and Industry was partly blamed for the entire nuclear incident involving the Daiichi Plant because it was in charge of regulating, promoting and securing nuclear power and was supposedly too “lax” in its duties.
Hachiro of course apologized numerous times at a press conference stating that the Prime Minister accepted his resignation placing Hachiro into history’s pages as an unlucky jester who jested too much in the court of the king.
(Cover Photo: Prime Minister’s Office of Japan)