“Public Anger,” Power, and the Rule of Japanese Elites via Japan Focus

Hachiro Yoshio ‘s stint as the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in the new Noda Yoshihiko administration was not the briefest cabinet assignment on record, but it was certainly one of the most controversial. News outlets reported that it was “public outrage” over two remarks he made which forced Hachiro to quit. In the absence of evidence, we have to take their word for it.

One of the remarks, that the area around the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactor was a “town of death,” supposedly offended the people who had been evacuated from the region, but the media have been describing the place in similar terms for months now. The Japanese Twittersphere is still buzzing that it wasn’t the public that was offended by Hachiro’s remark but rather Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is still working out a payment system for residents harmed by the accident. Hachiro stated at his news conference when he assumed the METI position that “in principle” he would work to phase out nuclear energy.
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