Opposition pressures DPJ after Hachiro exit

09/11/2011
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Prime Minister Yoshihiko's Cabinet

TOKYO (majirox news) — Opposition parties have upped the pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet Sept. 11 following Yoshio Hachiro’s resignation in disgrace for making verbal blunders related to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) figures plan to pursue Noda over his appointment of Hachiro, whose time as head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) lasted a mere eight days.

“The Noda Cabinet had better do some soul-searching. The prime minister has responsibility for making the appointment,” LDP President Sadakazu Tanigaki said Sept. 10 in Wakayama, where he was inspecting damage caused by Typhoon No. 12.

Noda, who was sworn in with his Cabinet on Sept. 2, immediately raised the fortunes of the government, which had seen its popularity and that of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, decrease dramatically in line with growing criticism of the March 11 disasters. Noda pledged to make handling the Fukushima nuclear crisis the government’s top priority. In the immediate aftermath of Noda assuming office, the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) overturned the two-party preferred lead the LDP had gained in most opinion polls and regained its lead.

Hachiro, however, visited the evacuation zone around the radiation-spewing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday and later told reporters the area was like “’a town of death.” He apologized for the comments Friday, but shortly afterward joked to reporters that he was covered in radiation, sparking new uproar.

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