Yoshio Hachiro, Japan’s Industry and Trade Minister, resigned late last week after describing his visit to the Daiichi nuclear plant, site of the triple meltdown which occurred after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“Sorry to say, there was not a single soul in areas around the plant,” Hachiro said, according to the Boston Herald
. “Literally, it was like a town of death.”
Hachiro later joked with reporters about having his clothes infecting people with radiation, the Telegraph
The comments add to the country’s woes in dealing with the nuclear disaster. Recent reports show tons of radiation contaminated sewage
has been stacking up hundreds of kilometers from the nuclear meltdown site.
Last month, the Japanese government declared a 3-kilometer no-go zone, due to high levels of radiation, which could last for several decades. Also in August, the country’s then-prime minister Naoto Kan was pressured into resigning, a move he said was due to “difficult conditions
Although Hachiro apologized a few hours after the remarks, opposition leaders quickly railed on him. “The words that hurt the feelings of the evacuees was unforgivable,” said Tadamori Oshima, a senior lawmaker with the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, according to the Herald.
The quick resignation of Hachiro could add more burden onto Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s sixth new prime minister in five years, as he tries restoring the nation’s morale.
The earthquake and tsunami disaster has left around 21,000 dead and missing along Japan’s northeast coast.