politics

Minister resigns after saying 'it was a good thing' 2011 quake happened where it did

67 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

67 Comments
Login to comment

What a sad old man. How old?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Foot in mouth disease is a growing epidemic among Japanese politicians.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

How many gaffs are these knuckleheads allowed to make before he has to "Get out!"?

In charge of the Tohoku disaster area and "relief". Ha.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I've never been given the opportunity to retract anything. There are some things I'd like to retract. Anyway, this guy is a walking disaster. Better allot these kinds of jobs based on competence. If such a thing is possible in this feudal system.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

He resigned. What a horribly person, full of discriminatory bile. Good riddance!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As much as his tact is way off, his statement is actually quite true. If the epicenter of the quake had been in Tokyo the death toll could have reached the hundreds of thousands and it would have thrown the infrastucture of the world's most populated city into total dismay.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

As much as his tact is way off, his statement is actually quite true. If the epicenter of the quake had been in Tokyo the death toll could have reached the hundreds of thousands and it would have thrown the infrastucture of the world's most populated city into total dismay.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

There's something sinister behind all these politicians talking out of their bottom. They're either too tired, want to resign but not allowed to, or they can't wait to practice their amakudari "rights" to get bonuses from companies.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

His comments seemed to be consistent with the governments attitude towards Tohoku.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Welcome to Prime Minister Abe san's weekly 'whack a gaffe'. Cabinet ministers involuntarily Tourette's fashion, bob up and blurt out extremely unpleasant offensive remarks. Abe san with the aid of a mallet sneaks up and dispenses a sharp blow at the same time offering "extremely inappropriate remark that was hurtful to people from....".................region of Japan TBA

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It seems that stupid politician has done the same stupid speech again.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Job Opening; Disaster Minister

Requirements: Ability to frequently place one's foot into one's own mouth, must be able to talk out of both sides of mouth at same time. Must be over 65 years old, preferably of low intelligence.

Additional Information: Must be willing to make stupid comments to take heat off of your boss when things get difficult for him.

Education requirements: None

15 ( +18 / -3 )

love the Evangelion tie!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's not a gaffe. A gaffe is an unintentional blunder or error, like saying "I misspoke." I called you the N word or said I liked how sexy you looked in that dress are not gaffes. They reflect the speaker's belief system.

These out of touch, coddled troglodytes are why this nation is doomed. "Hurry up and die," "hurry up and get married," the list goes on and on. Graduate seminars should be conducted on the basis of the endless stream of ignorance erupting from the mouths of Japanese politicians.

I'd add that given the empathy shown by Japan's "leaders," it's no wonder that children who survived the Tohoku disaster are bullied.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Imamura retracted the remark immediately afterward, telling reporters he was sorry for "adding to concern."

You did a lot more than that buddy!  You insulted and belittled the suffering of the people up there.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

As much as his tact is way off, his statement is actually quite true. If the epicenter of the quake had been in Tokyo the death toll could have reached the hundreds of thousands and it would have thrown the infrastucture of the world's most populated city into total dismay.

Yes, but all that would mean is that the government is brain dead for having a huge concentration of functions located in a single city, which then encourages Japanese companies to do exactly the same and pulls even more people to that location. A country with frequent natural disasters needs to be built with resilience. You do that by spreading things out. Standard common sense would also suggest that you should not build up a national debt of 250% or whatever of GDP before disaster strikes that mega-city housing one quarter of your population. You are supposed to save for rainy days, not get into hock.

When the Tohoku disaster happened, at around 4:30 to 5pm the national tv channels were still showing footage of tiles falling off buildings and people running out of undamaged restaurants in Tokyo. At the same time Al Jazeera, which I had on via the Net, had heli footage of the tsunami sweeping inland and engulfing inhabited areas. The Japanese reporting was completely Tokyo-centric.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

As others say what he said is true but he is careless. In democracy, politicians always have to say to please voters and never to unnerve them. That is a problem and spoil people. I tell readers here that we have discriminations among us. People of Tohoku and Okinawa as people living in hinterlands, and about Burakumin and Ainu of couse.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

He needs anger management and needs to wake up to reality

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For the record it is a bad translation of what he said. He did not say he is glad. The nuance of what he said was "its a good thing it happened in Tohoku and not Kanto"

Even so, yes he is an isolated toad troglodyte and should step down. But the Evangellion tie is cool!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Disillusioned,

I believe more people died in the tsunami than the actual earthquake. If the earthquake were in Tokyo, the death rate would be very low. When the fault that caused the tsunami snapped, Tokyo got very little wave action. So Imamura, surprisingly, was wrong.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You are an IDIOT.  How can you say what you said and live another day?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Is he wearing an anime necktie?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The journalist and filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda coined the phrase "the fascism of indifference" to describe what's happening in Abe's Japan. Nobody embodies the utter lack of human empathy, concern for others and simple common sense than this Imamura. An arrogant, clueless, heartless old man whose far-right credentials earned him the job.

This man wants Japan to possess nuclear weapons. Someone thought thought he would be a perfect candidate for reconstruction minister; it's almost unbelievable but it's true. Japan's future really is bleak with these people in charge.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The otaku anime tie wearing reconstruction minister just deconstructed his future and legacy, and should not have added to the pain of those who lost loved ones in the terrible tri-disasters of 3/11.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He's clearly intellectually limited  (and/or borderline insane). He talks like an 8yo.

@Dan lewis, I think the man is into manga neck-ties. if I remember well, had a similar tie when he blew a fuse at the presser a few weeks ago.

"The remark was unbecoming of a disaster reconstruction minister," Tetsuro Fukuyama of the Democratic Party said Tuesday.

Such comment is always inappropriate full stop. Whether you're a reconstruction minister, truckie or web designer is irrelevant. 'Normal' ppl simply don't come up with "pheww, glad only 25 ppl died in the last bush fire/plane crash/ ferry disaster" remarks etc. We all know that yes, it could have been even worse in a more heavily populated area, no need to say it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He should knock on wood. Any amateur of plate tectonics can tell you that earthquakes are a result of tectonic plates crushing into each other. The longer the crushing period, the more the tension builds, finally the bigger the quake. So if a place such as, say, Tokyo, hasn't experienced a devastating earthquake in a while, that's because the plates, over which Tokyo sits directly on top, are building tension. The longer the tension building continues, the harder the quake will be. Scientist have already predicted the mother of all earthquakes will rattle soon in the future and destroy Tokyo. So, he should knock on wood.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the man is into manga neck-ties. if I remember well, had a similar tie when he blew a fuse at the presser a few weeks ago.

Not just a similar tie - the same tie. They just pointed that out on the news.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That's two MAJOR foot-in-mouth statements this guy has made, on top of screaming at the media and being otherwise unqualified for the job. The sad part is he'll keep his DIET seat, and will just be reshuffled into a "quieter" job. No penalites at all for this guy. And this is now a DAILY thing for the LDP.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Surprised? Why? This isn't something new. Welcome to japan, the land where empathy and simple human understanding is non existent. Enjoy your stay!!

I always wonder, if natural citizens can succumb to such treatment, how would foreigners in the same situation fare?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

love the Evangelion tie!

This may be the only thing good about this man. I wear neckties with characters too and you would expect a guy like this would be down to earth and approachable.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JcaJapan, I had no idea.... Im actually shocked...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can only add two things:

I don't know how many of you actually experienced 2011, or have gone back for a yearly pilgrimage, so I won't take you at issue for saying what you think about that idiot's second gaffe (I use that word politely, when I could use a million expletives to describe his pisant comment).

About that experience and the pilgrimage, it will be a duty for the rest of my life.

Abe should be on his knees.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"We witnessed the horrible catastrophe that occurred in Fukushima, and we can imagine how much more costly in lives and property this would have been if the quake had been centered in Tokyo". No, even that doesn't do it. The idea of such a comparison is, in itself, just stupid.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How many more LDP politicans to go ..?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Judging by his tie, he probably did it on purpose so he could go back to watching anime all day

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Foot, say hello to mouth.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Quite honestly, I think the guy wanted a vacation, and he is going to get one.

You know, he is not wrong, and I am sure that this is the feeling of most people in Japan. Let's not kid ourselves. The latent panic and fear people continue to feel is not the dread of "oh those poor people." It is "what if it happened here?" And let's not have any illusions that the people of Tokyo care about the people of Fukushima beyond exploitation.

But let's tag the real culprit, which is the way the whole issue of relief to the area got politically charged up from way back in the Kan days. Here we have an administrator who has gone to all the trouble to get to know all issues and parties involved. He is comfortable enough to speak frankly about it, and now he will be replaced by some noob who won't be able to figure it out, and we start all over again.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The image is a perfect depiction of a "did I really just say that" moment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And I don't think it is doubling down to note that Tohoku handled it better than, well, let's face it, any other part of Japan could have. Hokkaido is so far out there that the population density is lower, but it is so remote that aid would have taken more time to get there. If Tokyo had gotten blasted, you can get that it would have gotten cleaned up a lot faster. There would have been more damage, but more deaths? I wonder. The quake effects might have been a lot worse, but I am not sure the tsunami would have been so bad. Kansai cant handle themselves WITHOUT disasters, so the minister was certainly right about that.

But that still ignores the science. As far as I know, those areas don't get the really big quakes and tsunamis, so, the whole thing is just a philosophical exercise anyway. We now know that Tohoku gets blasted by this kind of cataclysm about once a millennium. Other places... not so much... if at all.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

love the Evangelion tie! yep last I sawy a tie like that it was on a clown in a circus, matches him well

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It was fortunate that the disaster did not happen in (fill in the blank).

Is this unacceptable?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

His choice of words were nearly as bad a his choice in ties.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hi CH3CHO, Assuming his remarks were in comparison to how government would have been able to cope with disaster management had the earthquake occurred in the center of Tokyo. The selection of timing, sensitive delivery, tone, context, articulation all will be crucial to how his comments will be portrayed in the media.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The total costs of the 3/11 tri-disasters will be about ¥100 trillion or ten times the cost of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1994. ¥50-¥80 trillion for the nuclear disaster. Today, Tokyo is better built than when the last powerful earthquake happened. Its already 30 years overdue on a predicted powerful earthquake so I just hope they are ready for it.

Does the government even have another seat of government in the case of a disaster?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He did not cater to the sensibilities of the public. Politicians who fail to do that are promptly sent packing. As unpopular as his opinion is, though, it is simply the objective truth. Nothing more nothing less. As 5speedracer5 noted above, the recovery process has been politicized tremendously over the years, and despite the great amount of work which has been done, people in other parts of Japan see only what has not been completed yet. Sure, a lot of work lies ahead of the central and local governments, local people and businesses. But those who think that nothing has been achieved in the 6 short years after the quake and tsunami simply have not seen the devastation with their own eyes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Borsch - I believe more people died in the tsunami than the actual earthquake. If the earthquake were in Tokyo, the death rate would be very low. When the fault that caused the tsunami snapped, Tokyo got very little wave action. 

Well, thank you for pointing out the blatantly obvious. Yes, that scenario would be true unless, the quake generated an equal sized tsunami that swept through Tokyo Bay, of course, which was the point of my original comment. If a 6-8m tsunami hit Tokyo Bay, Western Chiba and Kanagawa the death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands, would it not? And, the infrastructure of the city would be destroyed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I know that I can be a bit insensitive sometimes, but this guy who supposed to be intelligent, he make me look like a complete apprentice! I think his next step (after clearing out his desk) is to go to every single person who has lost someone in the tsunami, and apologise in person!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The quality of the average LDP politician. Disaster Minister indeed!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

conspiracy should be a crime but, if yakuza are not shaking in their boots, I wonder if it has teeth? does anyone know? Will the yaks let a conspiracy bill pass when it could unravel all their organizations? I'm very curious about this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This bloke was so caught up in impressing the elites at the annual gifts and brown papers bags hand out for his promotion to the Disaster portifilo. What with these blokes other Elite had a aid carry him across a flooded gutter at a disaster, because he forget his boots! With so much political ammo, any decent opposition would be so far ahead in the poll, I just shake me head about the future of Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Finally this bozo is out

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@wtfjapan Yeah, I didn't notice the tie. That adds something to the story, maybe about his mentality.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If I were to say it, my friends would just laugh it out.  But when a Minister says it, out he goes!

When are they going to learn?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

From a logical standpoint he is right, had Tokyo been hit the damage to the nation would have been tremendous. And while he could have chosen a better phrasing, I would have certainly fired him over his choice of tie as an official.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He said that because it was Tohoku it was fine or good, which is different than "Both are horrible tragedies but Tokyo would have been worse."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are many more of these plonkers who need to be weeded out ASAP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What he said about Tokyo was true, but to say that the people from Fukushima should fend for themselves is about as bad of an idea as that tie. That is a really stupid looking tie. . . . Is that his idea of appealing to the public? Maybe to show young people that he is cool? Or that he is not an old ignorant man? Why would ANYONE in politics or over the age of 12 wear an anime tie? SMH

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What an a$$!

Generally I very much like old folks and get along really well with them (heck I am getting there myself)

However something really bothers me about the old men that are perpetually in power in Japan and / or perpetually on the boards of large corporations. They all seem to be arrogant, unwilling to adapt, and really not very good at what they do.

I really like Japan - it is my home and will be into the future (unless something dramatic happens) however this (these guys perpetually in power) really bothers me and it is one of the things I do dislike about Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I still sometimes weep thinking about the horrors of that 2011 Tsunami disaster. Just bawl. Maybe this guy needs to sit in a quiet shady spot and ponder the awfulness of it for a bit of sensitivity perspective. I assume he didn't mean to be offensive....but, dang, that was a really awful thing that happened. Yep, I'm gonna start crying again....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If Imamura is indicative of the effects of aging on an individual's behavior then surely all politicians should be aged barred for the job-let's say 65 at the top end?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The arrogance is palpable--as if Tohoku people don't matter as much as Tokyo people, as if a large earthquake will never occur in the metropolis--both things horribly blind, untrue assumptions.

A better way to state the facts would have been, "Tohoku damage amounted such-an-such yen. We could expect this-and-this yen in damage if the Tokyo metropolis was hit by a similar quake. We don't know when such an earthquake will hit the Tokyo region so we should learn what we can from Tohoku and prepare as best we may" etc. etc.

The wisest policy is not about "if Tokyo had been hit" but "when it will be hit"--a bit of humble pie, listen to the scientists studying these things, we are all in this earthquake-prone country together. He needed some common sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The guy was good looking and a Tokyo University Law graduate. Look him up in 1996. Now he's just a shriveled and mean old man. At what age does one become a kind grandfather?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really wish that a story could reflect the whole of what was said, not just the part that makes for a sensational headline. Nobody doubts he never should have said what he did, but we don't need to be told that he said something that he did not say - by simply grabbing a subset of his speech and reporting on that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My only question to this bozo, is where did all the Money go ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Folks, what happened to the reconstruction money ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My only question to this bozo, is where did all the Money go ? Folks, what happened to the reconstruction money ?

What money are you asking about? Donated money that was distributed years ago. Reconstruction money which to date the government has spent more than ¥27 trillion with a further ¥6 trillion over the next five years. Some the money wasn't spent even after allocating to projects. There have been claims of money wasted, mis-spent and fraud.

The estimated cost of the 1994 Great Hanshin Earthquake which hit the Kobe City area was about ¥15 trillion but the prefecture and city did the reconstruction for about ¥10 trillion and returned the outstanding sum to the government.

"This bozo" wasn't in office at the time of the tri-disasters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites