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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 July 18 - 24  > Foreign minister makes outrageous remark
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2007 July 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Foreign minister makes outrageous remark

July 21, 2007
Foreign Minister Aso Taro said on July 19, “Which is more, 78,000 yen or 16,000 yen? This is so obvious a question that even Alzheimer’s disease patients can answer.”

Aso made this remark in his speech in Takaoka City (Toyama Pref.) in reference to the merits of exporting rice to China, stressing that Japanese rice is sold at a higher price in China than in Japan.

Aso on the next day said to reporters, “My remark was inappropriate. I retract it and apologize to those who were offended.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa on the same day admitted that Aso’s remark was inappropriate, but indicated that the prime minister’s office will not take any further response to this question, saying, “As far as I am concerned, Mr. Aso admitted that his remark was inappropriate and apologized.”

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo, however, stressed that Aso’s remark exposed that he is unqualified as a cabinet minister and said, “He should not be allowed to remain as the minister.”

Shii said, “His remark trampled on the dignity of those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This is absolutely unacceptable. The mere retraction of his remark does not settle the matter.”

Pointing out that Abe Cabinet ministers have made a series of outrageous remarks, including Welfare Minister Yanagisawa Hakuo who characterized women as “birth-giving machines” and former Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio who said that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “couldn’t be helped,” Shii criticized prime minister Abe Shinzo for continuing to defend them.

“This cabinet lacks even the minimum of political morals, which is extraordinary,” Shii said, adding, “Such a cabinet is completely unqualified to teach children about values or morals.” - Akahata, July 21, 2007
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