A Cabinet Minister in charge of rebuilding areas hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has resigned after making a remark seen as offensive to those affected by the disaster.
Reconstruction Minister Masahiro Imamura submitted his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday morning.
Abe accepted it and appointed Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masayoshi Yoshino as the new Reconstruction Minister.
Yoshino was elected from Fukushima, one of the prefectures hard-hit by the disaster. He has until now served as the chairman of the Lower House special committee on disaster reconstruction.
Imamura’s remark came in a speech he gave on Tuesday at a gathering of lawmakers belonging to a Liberal Democratic Party faction led by LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai. Referring to the scope of social infrastructure losses caused by the 2011 disaster, he said it was fortunate that the disaster struck the northeastern Tohoku region rather than the Tokyo metropolitan area, as the damage would have been much worse.
Source and image: NHK