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Japan’s Olympic minister resigns over Fukushima gaffe via The Guardian


Yoshitaka Sakurada suggested a politician in area affected by 2011 triple disaster was more important than reconstruction

Japan’s Olympic minister resigned Wednesday after making remarks deemed offensive to the people affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a gaffe that prompted some to question his credentials.

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Sakurada, at a party earlier Wednesday for Hinako Takahashi – a ruling lawmaker from Iwate, one of the prefectures severely hit by the disaster – said Takahashi is more important than reconstruction.

Sakurada was in charge of the 2020 Games, whose main theme is to promote reconstruction of the disaster-struck region.

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Sakurada, who also doubled as cybersecurity strategy chief, said in November that he did not use a computer. In February, he was forced to apologise after expressing disappointment over swimming gold medal hopeful Rikako Ikee’s disclosure of her leukemia diagnosis. Sakurada was also scolded for being late and holding up a parliamentary session.

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Sakurada’s resignation is also an embarrassment for Abe, who saw another cabinet member step down over a questionable remark. Deputy minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister, Ichiro Tsukada, quit last week after suggesting he acted for the interests of Abe and the finance minister, Taro Aso, over a road project related to their constituencies, prompting opposition lawmakers to seek explanation though he denied any preferential treatment.

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