Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters Sept. 11 that the DPJ would look into how an off-record comment by Hachiro that he was “covered in radiation” ended up being publicly disclosed in the media, sparking outrage that cost the minister his job after just eight days in office.
“The party has told me that we have to look into how we deal with the media from now on,” Fujimura said. “What was broadcast was a comment made during an unofficial gathering, and the reports on (Hachiro’s) statements were apparently not what he said. What he and the media have to say are two different stories.”
Fujimura said the matter was “a significant problem” and suggested DPJ heavyweights would get involved in dealing with it.
Hachiro resigned in disgrace on Saturday. He had initially sparked uproar Thursday following a visit to the Evacuation Zone around the radiation-oozing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in which he referred to the deserted place as a “town of death.”
Hachiro apologized for the comments the following day, but shortly afterward is reported to have joked with reporters that he was “covered in radiation.”
The comment was reported and Hachiro forced from office after he was accused of being insensitive to the thousands of people forced to move out of their homes when the nuclear power plant went into meltdowns triggered by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.