Japan Minister Quits Over Nuke Joke

PM moves quickly to quell gaffe fallout
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2011 7:28 AM CDT
Japan Minister Quits Over Nuke Joke
Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yoshio Hachiro reacts as he holds a news conference at the ministry in Tokyo on September 10, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Japan still isn't laughing about the devastating nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Dai-ichi, but its newest ex-minister of the nuclear industry apparently thinks it's quite amusing. After returning from a trip to Fukushima on Thursday, Yoshio Hachiro reportedly rubbed against a journalist, joking, "I'll give you radiation." Hachiro resigned over the flap yesterday, just eight days after the government took office, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Yoshihiko Noda, Japan's sixth prime minister in five years, apologized quickly and tried to distance himself from Hachiro, as many of those previous, short-lived governments were undermined by similar gaffes. But Noda is expected to come under harsh questioning in the new parliament this week. "There was already great mistrust of his personnel appointments," said one analyst. (Read more Japan stories.)

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