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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 April 26 - May 9  > Cabinet minister insulting disaster victims must not remain in position: JCP Koike
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2017 April 26 - May 9 [POLITICS]

Cabinet minister insulting disaster victims must not remain in position: JCP Koike

April 26, 2017
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on April 25 said that it is a matter of course for Reconstruction Minister Imamura Masahiko to resign over his repeated insulting remarks towards 2011 disaster victims in the Tohoku region. Koike added that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo should also be held responsible for appointing Imamura as a minister.

Earlier on the same day, Imamura gave a speech in a meeting in Tokyo. Concerning the 2011 earthquake that triggered massive tsunamis resulting in the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns, he said that were the earthquake’s center closer to the Tokyo metropolitan area, it would have caused far greater damage. Imamura went on to say that it was “fortunate” that the quake mainly affected the Tohoku region. Immediately facing criticism, Imamura expressed his intent to resign several hours later.

Koike stressed that the minister’s remarks did not take into consideration the disaster victims’ suffering and are totally unacceptable. The JCP lawmaker insisted that Imamura should step down from his position not only as a Cabinet minister but also as a Dietmember.

Earlier this month, the Reconstruction Minister was criticized for insulting victims of the 2011 nuclear accident who voluntarily evacuated their hometowns. In a press conference on April 4, in response to a journalist who asked about the government responsibility in supporting the lives of voluntary evacuees, Imamura said that those people chose to do so “on their own responsibility” and that they can sue the state if they are unhappy with government policies. Imamura’s cold-hearted attitude provoked public anger.

Koike noted that when the minister made the irresponsible remarks about voluntary evacuees, the JCP and other opposition parties demanded Imamura’s resignation. However, Koike added, PM Abe at that time allowed Imamura to remain in his position and the minister yet again offended people in the quake-hit Tohoku region. The JCP lawmaker insisted that Abe’s responsibility should be called into question.

Past related articles:
> Shii demands resignation of Reconstruction Minister for abusive remarks [April 7, 2017]
> Fukushima reconstruction minister under fire over his remarks beating up on voluntary evacuees [April 6, 2017]
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