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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 September 7 - 13  > Ichida: Industry minister got what he deserved
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2011 September 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

Ichida: Industry minister got what he deserved

September 11, 2011
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on September 10 said that it was a matter of course for Industry Minister Hachiro Yoshio to resign from his post because he made remarks disparaging the victims of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

It is reported that on the night of September 8, when Hachiro returned from his inspection visit to municipalities near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with Prime Minister Noda, he rubbed his emergency suit sleeves against a reporter and said, “I put radioactive materials (on you).”

On September 9, the minister retracted his remark describing areas near the Fukushima NPP as “ghost towns” and offered an apology. He stepped down as the minister on the next day, only 9 days after his appointment.

In a press conference, Ichida criticized Hachiro’s remarks as extraordinarily insensitive, stressing that they were in disregard of the feeling of those who have been forced to leave their homes and communities and have been terrorized by the threat of radioactive contamination. He also said that Prime Minister Noda must be held responsible for selecting such a person as his minister.

In order to respond to the demands of the nuclear-accident victims, the need is to hold Diet deliberations on how to decontaminate areas exposed to radioactivity and compensate for damages at government initiative, Ichida added.

In a series of interviews with major newspapers after taking up the post of the industry minister, Hachiro stressed the need for the resumption of operations of nuclear reactors.

He also expressed his intention to ask the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to evaluate the result of a “stress test” on suspended nuclear reactors in order to secure the validity of the test. However, IAEA has been clearly exposed as a pro-nuclear power organization after its Director General Amano Yukiya said following the Fukushima nuclear accident, “Nuclear power will remain an important and viable option for many countries as a stable and clean source of energy.”

Hachiro attempted to justify the promotion of the restart of off-line nuclear reactors by obtaining an endorsement from the nuclear-related international body.

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