Japan PM bowed by day of apologies


Prime Minister Naoto Kan

TOKYO (majirox news) — Prime Minister Naoto Kan was repeatedly forced to apologize for broken promises during a House of Representatives Committee on the Budget meeting on July 22.

Kan had to apologize after it became clear that he would not be able to deliver on a promise to have temporary housing set up for all March 11 disaster victims who needed it by the mid-August holiday period.

“We received a series of additional requests from several prefectures in the middle of the month,” Kan said. “We may not be finished by the Obon holiday (around Aug. 15). If the forecast was too optimistic, I’m responsible. I apologize.”

Obon is an annual Buddhist event for honoring one’s ancestors. It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives.

The prime minister also apologized for his ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s Manifesto, the series of promises that swept it into office in 2009 but is now likely to undergo a review because of a shortage of funds.

“We were too optimistic,” he said. “I would like to apologize to citizens.”

Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Akihiro Ohata said the government had received requests for an additional 2,200 temporary shelters from Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.

He said construction of the vast majority of the almost 53,000 shelters that will need to be built to house victims of the March 11 earthquake,tsunami and nuclear crisis will be completed by early August, but it will take until September for all the housing to be put in place.

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