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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Japan Official Resigns Over Remarks

TOKYO, July 3 — Four weeks before a crucial parliamentary election that could decide Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s political fate, his gaffe-prone defense minister was today forced to resign after making comments apparently justifying the United States’ use of atomic bombs against Japan during World War II.

Mr. Abe, who a day earlier had said that he would retain the defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, immediately accepted Mr. Kyuma’s resignation, in a clear attempt to quell the uproar before the July 29th upper-house election.

The latest trouble came at the worst possible moment for Mr. Abe, who had extended the parliamentary session in a bid to dampen public anger over previous scandals and who over the weekend recorded his lowest approval ratings since becoming prime minister last September.

Mr. Abe said he was responsible for Mr. Kyuma’s appointment and added, “It’s regrettable it had this result.”

Mr. Kyuma, 66, whose job had seemed secure as late as this morning, resigned in the afternoon, saying he did not want to be a drag on his party in the election. He acknowledged that he may have “already had a negative effect.”

Hours after Mr. Kyuma’s resignation, Yuriko Koike, 54, the prime minister’s national security adviser and a former minister of the environment, was appointed as the new defense minister.

In a public appearance on Saturday — the unofficial start of the campaign for the upcoming election — Mr. Kyuma said that dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 “ended the war,” adding, “I think that it couldn’t be helped.”

Otherwise, Mr. Kyuma said, the war would have dragged on and the Soviet Union would have ended up occupying northern Japan.

The comments by Mr. Kyuma, who himself represents Nagasaki in Japan’s lower house, caused widespread anger by apparently treating lightly Japan’s status as the only country ever targeted by nuclear arms.

Although the debate over the use of nuclear arms is not the taboo it once was, Japan’s self-image as a special victim of World War II remains deeply rooted, even as revisionist politicians like Mr. Abe have tried to minimize Japan’s militarist past.

On Sunday, Mr. Kyuma defended his remarks and received Mr. Abe’s backing. On Monday, Mr. Kyuma apologized and was warned by Mr. Abe.

But the furor did not die down today as calls for Mr. Kyuma’s resignation came not only from the opposition, but also from Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Democrats’ coalition partner, the New Komeito Party. The Liberal Democrats expressed anger that the comment would hurt them on the campaign trail.

“From the point of view of someone fighting an election, it’s like being shot in the back,” Yoichi Masuzoe, a Liberal Democrat leader in the upper house of parliament, said publicly, before Mr. Kyuma’s decision to step down. “I am not ordering him to resign, but he should take proper responsibility.”

After a strong start in power, Mr. Abe’s popularity has steadily declined because of a series of scandals and perceived poor leadership. He has registered around 30 percent in recent polls — a figure not seen since the unpopular Yoshiro Mori was prime minister early this decade.

A loss by Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party later this month in the upper house of parliament would not directly mean that Mr. Abe would have to step down, since the Liberal Democrat-controlled lower house chooses the prime minister.

But a big loss would put pressure on Mr. Abe to step aside for a more popular party leader, who would then automatically become the next prime minister.

In contrast to his popular predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, Mr. Abe has often seemed incapable of exercising leadership over his own cabinet and party. He appeared politically tone-deaf in sticking by unpopular ministers, including a health minister who called women “baby-making machines” and a scandal-ridden agricultural minister who ended up committing suicide.

Mr. Kyuma himself also once called America’s war in Iraq a mistake, angering Vice President Dick Cheney, who pointedly refused to meet him during a visit to Japan in February.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 07:35 PM
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Sounds like his biggest problem is a honest opinion.


We all know you cannot have that in government

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by GermanStar
TOKYO, July 3 — Four weeks before a crucial parliamentary election that could decide Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s political fate, his gaffe-prone defense minister was today forced to resign after making comments apparently justifying the United States’ use of atomic bombs against Japan during World War II.

Mr. Abe, who a day earlier had said that he would retain the defense minister, Fumio Kyuma, immediately accepted Mr. Kyuma’s resignation, in a clear attempt to quell the uproar before the July 29th upper-house election.

The latest trouble came at the worst possible moment for Mr. Abe, who had extended the parliamentary session in a bid to dampen public anger over previous scandals and who over the weekend recorded his lowest approval ratings since becoming prime minister last September.

Mr. Abe said he was responsible for Mr. Kyuma’s appointment and added, “It’s regrettable it had this result.”

Mr. Kyuma, 66, whose job had seemed secure as late as this morning, resigned in the afternoon, saying he did not want to be a drag on his party in the election. He acknowledged that he may have “already had a negative effect.”

Hours after Mr. Kyuma’s resignation, Yuriko Koike, 54, the prime minister’s national security adviser and a former minister of the environment, was appointed as the new defense minister.

In a public appearance on Saturday — the unofficial start of the campaign for the upcoming election — Mr. Kyuma said that dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 “ended the war,” adding, “I think that it couldn’t be helped.”

Otherwise, Mr. Kyuma said, the war would have dragged on and the Soviet Union would have ended up occupying northern Japan.

The comments by Mr. Kyuma, who himself represents Nagasaki in Japan’s lower house, caused widespread anger by apparently treating lightly Japan’s status as the only country ever targeted by nuclear arms.

Although the debate over the use of nuclear arms is not the taboo it once was, Japan’s self-image as a special victim of World War II remains deeply rooted, even as revisionist politicians like Mr. Abe have tried to minimize Japan’s militarist past.

On Sunday, Mr. Kyuma defended his remarks and received Mr. Abe’s backing. On Monday, Mr. Kyuma apologized and was warned by Mr. Abe.

But the furor did not die down today as calls for Mr. Kyuma’s resignation came not only from the opposition, but also from Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Democrats’ coalition partner, the New Komeito Party. The Liberal Democrats expressed anger that the comment would hurt them on the campaign trail.

“From the point of view of someone fighting an election, it’s like being shot in the back,” Yoichi Masuzoe, a Liberal Democrat leader in the upper house of parliament, said publicly, before Mr. Kyuma’s decision to step down.“I am not ordering him to resign, but he should take proper responsibility.”
After a strong start in power, Mr. Abe’s popularity has steadily declined because of a series of scandals and perceived poor leadership. He has registered around 30 percent in recent polls — a figure not seen since the unpopular Yoshiro Mori was prime minister early this decade.

A loss by Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party later this month in the upper house of parliament would not directly mean that Mr. Abe would have to step down, since the Liberal Democrat-controlled lower house chooses the prime minister.

But a big loss would put pressure on Mr. Abe to step aside for a more popular party leader, who would then automatically become the next prime minister.

In contrast to his popular predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, Mr. Abe has often seemed incapable of exercising leadership over his own cabinet and party. He appeared politically tone-deaf in sticking by unpopular ministers, including a health minister who called women “baby-making machines” and a scandal-ridden agricultural minister who ended up committing suicide.

Mr. Kyuma himself also once called America’s war in Iraq a mistake, angering Vice President Dick Cheney, who pointedly refused to meet him during a visit to Japan in February.
I think it's weird that they all speak English in Japan.

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