Prime Minister Taro Aso‘s Cabinet suffered a serious blow Sunday with the resignation of transport minister Nariaki Nakayama, who was under fire for several gaffes.
In an interview with The Japan Times and other media organizations Thursday, the conservative Nakayama said Japanese “do not like nor desire foreigners” and that Japan is inward-looking and “ethnically homogenous.”
Nakayama retracted the statements the following day and offered an apology to the ethnic Ainu, who were officially recognized as an indigenous people for the first time by the Diet in June.
He also blamed local residents, citing their lack of self-sacrifice, for the fitful expansion of Narita International Airport — another comment he was forced to retract.
Furthermore, Nakayama, a former education minister and longtime critic of Nikkyoso, Japan’s biggest union of teachers and school staff, said Saturday the organization is a “cancer” and that he would destroy it.
While Nakayama withdrew his other controversial statements, he remained defiant on his comments against Nikkyoso and stood by them during Sunday’s news conference.
- Gaffe-prone Nakayama quits Cabinet (Japan Times)
- Minister Nakayama resigns over offensive comments (Mainichi)
- Transport minister Nakayama resigns over controversial remarks (Japan Today)
- Japan’s new PM faces setback as transport minister resigns (Yahoo News)