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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 September 24 - 30  > Transport minister resigns 5 days after joining Aso Cabinet
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2008 September 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Transport minister resigns 5 days after joining Aso Cabinet

September 29, 2008
Five days after the inauguration of Prime Minister Aso Taro’s cabinet, the transport minister resigned for a string of gaffes, which disgusted even ruling party politicians.

Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport, Tourism Minister Nakayama Nariaki, on September 28 handed in his resignation to the prime minister.

Nakayama called the Japan Teachers’ Union “a cancer,” falsely linking it to the recent bribery scandal regarding the employment of teachers in Oita Prefecture. He also upset the Ainu, Japan’s indigenous people, when he described Japan as an “ethnically homogenous” country, which is contrary to the fact.

At a news conference later in the day, Nakayama said, “I decided to resign so that the Diet can discuss the supplementary budget bill and the bill to continue with Self-Defense Force refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.” He flatly refused to retract his statements about the Japan Teachers’ Union, adding, “It was good to have made the remark.” He even added, “I will do my utmost to destroy the Japan Teachers’ Union.”

Commenting on Nakayama’s resignation on NHK’s “Sunday Debate” program aired on September 28, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said, “This is a manifestation of the deadlock reached by the Liberal Democratic-Komei government. His remarks are more than ‘extraordinary’.”

Ichida also said, “These extraordinary remarks are not just ‘gaffes’. He stated what he believes is true.”

He also said, “He (Nakayama) has admitted that he lacked the awareness of being a minister. This means that the prime minister must be held accountable for appointing such a person who lacks any awareness of responsibility.”
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