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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 10 - 16  > Olympics minister resigns over his unsympathetic remark about 2011 disaster victims
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2019 April 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Olympics minister resigns over his unsympathetic remark about 2011 disaster victims

April 12, 2019
Olympics Minister Sakurada Yoshitaka on April 10 resigned over his insensitive remark in reference to the victims of the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region. In reaction to the minister’s resignation, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo said that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo should also bear the blame for the remark.

Sakurada made the controversial remark earlier on the day at a meeting held to increase support for Liberal Democratic Party parliamentarian Takahashi Hinako who was elected from the Tohoku region. The minister, who is also an LDP Dietmember, gave a speech and said, “Takahashi is more important than recovery (from the March 11 disaster).”

Shii on April 11 at a press conference in the Diet building said that it has long since been evident that Sakurada is not qualified to be the Olympics minister as shown by the fact that Sakurada at a Diet meeting in February admitted that he had never read the Olympics Charter. Shii pointed out that after the February Diet meeting, the JCP urged PM Abe to immediately remove Sakurada from his position, but Abe refused the JCP demand. Shii stressed that the prime minister should be criticized for defending Sakurada.

Shii noted that in 2017, the then Reconstruction Minister Imamura Masahiro asserted that it was fortunate that the 2011 major earthquake occurred in the Tohoku region and not in more populated areas. This insensitive assertion led to the minister’s resignation. The remarks of both Sakurada and Imamura reflect the Abe government’s indifferent stance toward the sufferings of the disaster victims. In fact, he added, the Abe government keeps cutting spending for support measures for those who are still fighting to reconstruct their livelihoods from the damage from the 2011 earthquake.

Shii stressed that Sakurada’s remark is in line with the Abe government’s stance of indifference and that PM Abe should be held responsible as well.

Past related article:
> Fukushima reconstruction minister under fire over his remarks beating up on voluntary evacuees [April 6, 2017]
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