COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

LDP lawmaker under fire for Obama remarks; refuses to resign


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

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment.

speaks a Maruyama will resign shortly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't think this gaff is quite resign material.

Make politicians resign for pork barrel politicking and never attempting to make or change laws for the better.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

If men of such mentality swarmed in Tokyo's political circles, the Okinawa’s base issue, the Futenma issue in particular, would never be solved. Washington's Japan hands and so-called "pro-Japan experts" (親日派)may be making the best use of them to sway Japan's public opinion through such people who willingly identify themselves with the U.S.

I saw an ultra-rightists' sound truck on a Naha street several days ago with the Rising Sun and the Stars and Stripes hoisted in its front as usual.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Just ignorance about history. Poor guy, educated in the states apparently. The 51st state crap is just that, crap. Resign- worthy? Nah, just cringe-worthy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not the best way to articulate your point, however, I don't understand how this is an issue demanding resignation from either posts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't quit. Get over it....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A low-level politician makes an ignorant gaff, and there are immediate demands for his resignation. The Finance Minister is found fiddling finances, and he's given a week to investigate himself. And his boss doesn't want him to resign.

I don't understand. The smaller you are, the harder you fall?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

He should resign. But not for commenting on Obama's ancestry, rather for entertaining the idea of Japan becoming a U.S. state.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wonder if this character has been talking to The Donald ?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I think the DPJ lawmakers are well out of line here. It's a factual error certainly, and Maruyama should be better informed. But to suggest it is insulting, as Yosuke Kamiyama does, is more insulting than the initial remark. If we are to take this as an 'insult' rather than a 'factual error' the only possible interpretation is that it is a source of shame to be 'tainted' by slave blood.

I am descended from slaves certainly (and slave owners possibly). My grandmother's grandfather was a slave freed in the 1800s. I'm not ashamed of it, quite the contrary. I am quite happy to talk about it in conversation, if it comes up. The reason I don't do so more often is more to do with discomfort on the part of the listener rather than personal embarrassment.

Kamiyama seems to be unable to distinguish between personally calling a black man going about his business a 'slave' and referring to slave ancestry. The former is obviously an insult as it is clearly incorrect, the latter could be positive or negative, factual or incorrect depending on the context. As Maruyama's emphasis seems to be "look how far the US has come, look what they've achieved", surely here we have a positive context combined with a factual error.

Much as I would vote DPJ rather than LDP, in think in this case the DPJ show a disturbing lack of nuance. There are plenty of better ways to criticize the LDP than this and the talk of resignation is ridiculous.

Maybe Mr. Kamiyama would like to resign for suggesting it is embarrassing to have slave ancestors - his is a far more damaging statement.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Muchadoabout nothing. DPJ needs to lift their game. Smells of desperation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Per Wikipedia, Obama's grandmother, on his mothers' side, 'may' have descended from a black slave. His mother, on the other hand, appears to have been an agnostic or atheist who graduated from my high school in 1961 in Mercer Island Washington. She was obviously quite an exceptional lady. (By the way, I am not an Obama fan.)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jpn-guy - good points. I agree.

However in the cauldron of politics the DPJ would be negligent not to pursue the hounding of Maruyama, if only to show that it is a consistent characteristic of LDP to often show an ill conceived amateurish face. Whether Maruyama had any discriminatory intent is besides the matter.

As the "slips" pile up expect to hear more from DPJ as the elections near. But indeed, they have to make sure their hands are squeaky clean, as the Jiminto scouts are hunting for Democrat dirt right now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“Today, America has a black person as president. A person who inherits black people’s blood. Frankly speaking, they were slaves,” he said Wednesday,

No, that's not what he said. They have added way too much to this translation that was not part of what he actually said in Japanese. What he said in Japanese was:

アメリカは黒人が大統領になっている。 - America has a black president.

これは奴隷ですよ。- This is a slave.

Nothing about inheriting blood, nothing about 'frankly speaking'.

This is just sloppy reporting - someone needs to do some fact checking.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Strangerland: No, that's not what he said. They have added way too much to this translation that was not part of what he actually said in Japanese. What he said in Japanese was: アメリカは黒人が大統領になっている。 - America has a black president. これは奴隷ですよ。- This is a slave. Nothing about inheriting blood, nothing about 'frankly speaking'.

The quote various sources are reporting has a sentence in between the two you posted: 黒人の血を引くね。

Which Google translates as: I pull the black blood.

And at least, "黒人" = "black person", "の" = (a particle used variously, as in "of", "'s", etc.), "血" = "blood".

Strangerland: ... someone needs to do some fact checking.

Mmmm, yes. Someone does.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Clunky but no racist intent. The point he was trying to make was that America has progressed a great deal in regards to race-relations. No reasonably-minded should have a problem with this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mmmm, yes. Someone does.

You're right, some research shows I was wrong. I stand corrected.

Amended translation:

今、米国は黒人が大統領になっている。- Now, America has a black president.

黒人の血を引くね。- He has the blood of black people.

これは奴隷ですよ。- This is a slave.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Blundering, hapless and ignorant.................depressingly attributes, traits and character flaws all present and correct in a majority of our political elite regardless of Country or Culture. It's the inane grin in the press photo I find particularly disturbing,

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Its obvious DP is hunting mistakes to LDP,but it wont work. Once he apologized quickly,denying any bad intention,that would be fair enough.Calling for his resignation is ridiculous.Claiming,his announcement may harm Japan-American relations is really funny.U,S embassy declined to comment,but it seems DP is more royal than a king!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

An ignorant and stupid comment from an ignorant and stupid lawmaker to be sure, but I`m not sold on the argument that this is the sort of thing that merits a resignation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could we also then claim this?: Since the Japanese people originally descended from races in North-East Asia, and only much later emigrated to these "Japanese" islands, wouldn't this idiot lawmaker's "descendants" presently also be rejected as candidates for high office like Prime Minister in modern contemporary Japanese politics? I think they would.

The Japanese would surely refuse the "humiliation" of having an "outsider" Asian lead their glorious country...what with the "unpure" blood this guy's ancestors had running through their veins and all!

I think the analogy does work, (and yes I'm trying to be ludicrous here), though I'm sure this fool would be VERY outraged to hear he comes from an "immigrant family" from "mainland Asia!" And seeing the quite dismal state of history taught in this country, I'm sure he has a crackpot historical text handy that "proves" his pure race descended from some God or Goddess or other such palpable pap!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


How come 'Amerika' became 'Beikoku'? I know they mean the same thing, but now I wonder what he actually said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having now seen the original Japanese supplied by Strangerland, I would have to amend my above view to say that the way Maruyama has expressed himself is very inelegant, as it comes dangerously close to saying black person=slave. In the context of praising changes in US society, I still don't think that is what he meant, but the an apology for clumsy wording would be in order. That said, I still don't think that suggesting someone has slave ancestry is an insult though, as to suggest so stigmatizes those that do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What he said was factually incorrect, and politically incorrect, but the point he was making was one of hope, so I see no need to resign, and an apology should be limited to having been incorrect in his premise.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Good| Bad

AsianGaijinYesWeExistFeb. 19, 2016 - 01:04PM JST

@Strangerland N How come 'Amerika' became 'Beikoku'? I know they mean the same thing, but now I wonder what he actually said.

'Amerika' became ikoku'? I know they mean the same thingn

, but now I wonder what he actually said.

knji ME

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

He will bow out or Japan will pay a price some how!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Isn't anybody in Japan disturbed that one of their elected representatives is making this gaffe in the context of arguing that there is no problem with Japan becoming the 51st state of the USA?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What's the point of resigning when he's just going to get a position as a minister of something else? Japanese politics is like a game of musical chairs with the same number of chairs as people: POINTLESS

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As someone who voted for Obama, twice, I do not see the remark as insulting, either to the President or to the United States.

However, as pointed out in the article, his father is from Kenya, so it is unlikely that Pres. Obama is descended from slaves, although he is very possibly related to descendants of slaves.

Anyway, I do not see what the bid deal is. Here in the States we had a bunch of Old White Men in the opposition party state, even before Sen. Obama was sworn in as President, that they would not work with him, so the statement that an African-American could not have been elected earlier in our history is hardly shocking news. Much more shocking is the amount of racism still left in the world, and in this country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Welcome back, toshiko !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder why the recent negative votes on my post that simply quoted Wikipedia information about Obama's mothers' mother who 'may' have descended from a slave. This was not a judgment call, I was just presenting information that appeared to be reasonably valid. The LDP members comments were not being judged by me. I thought that people might like to know what the facts really are - this of course assumes that Wikipedia and are not biased themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First I thought,... Why on earth did he talk about african american and slave? What's wrong with him?? THen I read his ALL remark, which makes sense.

He was not talking about African american nor slave. He was talking about hypothetical story about making Japan as 51st state of US. He was talking about, if so, the possibility of even Japanese descendent can be a President of the United states, because even afrcian american, once its race was slave, became President of United States. It was not racial quote, it is all about how great America and its ability to accept and adapt new things. I feel sorry for him. I don't understand why media doesn't talk about the whole context? Geeez...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The remarks were made as he questioned experts about a revision to Japan’s constitution, which has never been amended since it was drafted by the United States during its post-World War II occupation. He noted there would be no problem if Japan becomes America’s “51st state” and that would allow people from “the state of Japan” to become U.S. president. Then he mentioned Obama."

This is far more lunatic than his comments about US history and Obama, which I truly don't think were meant to be racist but were just poorly said. Seems pretty obvious the opposition is just out for blood for any reason they can be.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I think he meant it as a complement and I'll take it as one.

Don't worry Japan, we Americans are not particularly thinned skinned.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

“Back at the beginning of U.S. history, it would have been unthinkable that a black person, a slave, would become president. That’s how dynamic a transformation this country makes.” This is not incorrect, nor racist to say so. I don't know this man or his values. But I do not take offence to what he said. You just need to turn on TV to listen to Donald Trump talk if you want to hear what racism sounds like.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hyperbole, yes it was. Gaffe, yes it was. But I cannot even tell what he is trying to say. More like a Palin than a Trump.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The DPJ are making themselves look shrill, silly and ineffectual as usual. It's one thing to call him out over making the remarks, but calling for him to resign is a waste of time. He doesn't really have to and he won't. Other LDP members have said far more stupid things and it didn't do them any harm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hyperbole, yes it was. Gaffe, yes it was. But I cannot even tell what he is trying to say. More like a Palin than a Trump.

Good analogy. Rather than a Trump quote, which is ALWAYS designed to insult, this was more of a Palin quote, which is just a "blonde moment" quote.

Not really seeing where this requires a resignation. If he apologizes without the qualifiers then we should just move on with our lives.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

He made an assumption. Do not assume, for when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME.

Chances are that he's probably cringing about it and might consider resignation just to get out of the spotlight, but I don't believe that he should be forced out. As long as he doesn't make a habit of it!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It was a mistake. He apologized. His point was intended to be positive, however. I think resigning is way over the top.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment


Embassy stuffs know brain of Japanese politician]?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Embassy stuffs know brain of Japanese politician]?

They don't need to - they can still have a comment.

But they didn't make one, so it's irrelevant.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Finance Minister is found fiddling finances, and he's given a week to investigate himself.

Not really. It was his aides that were found fiddling finances, so it made sense to take a week and investigate in that case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It was his aides that were found fiddling finances, so it made sense to take a week and investigate in that case.

It would have made sense for the police to investigate, not for the minister and his aides to be given time to concoct a story and arrange a fall guy. In fact it was not found that 'his aides were fiddling finances': Amari himself admitted to receiving huge amounts of money and other gifts, of which he claimed an aide had personally spent (a mere) 3 million. And a time limit need not be put on any investigation; it should take as long as it takes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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