A ruling party lawmaker in Japan has got into hot water for a remark that critics say could be taken as insulting toward US President Barack Obama.
Liberal Democratic Party member of the Upper House Kazuya Maruyama was a target of criticism during Diet deliberations on Thursday.
Maruyama said in an Upper House panel on Wednesday that the United States now has a black president. He said no one ever expected when the US was founded that a black person or a slave would become president.
The lawyer-turned politician later apologized for making the remark that he said could cause misunderstanding. He said he would officially retract it and revise it in the meeting’s minutes.
In a Lower House panel on Thursday, lawmaker Yosuke Kamiyama of the opposition Democratic Party said that Maruyama’s comment could be taken as insulting to President Obama.
Kamiyama said it is a grave issue that could affect Japan’s diplomatic relations.
In response, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment in his capacity as the top government spokesman.
But Suga said his personal view is that Maruyama must fully explain the remark.
He said lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition parties are responsible for what they say and must be held accountable.
In response to reporters’ questions, Suga said the US government has made no inquiries into Maruyama’s comment. He said the Japanese government does not plan to offer an explanation, either.
Source and image: NHK