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Noda says he won't fire Ichikawa


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Monday that he has no plan to fire Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa who is under pressure to resign over Okinawa "rape" comments by a senior Defense Ministry as well as his own remarks in the Diet.

Speaking at a House of Representatives Budget Committee session, Noda said that he has asked Ichikawa to conduct himself at a much higher level. He said that Ichikawa is busy completing an environmental assessment report on the proposed relocation of the U.S. air base at Futenma, NTV reported.

Noda said the report must be handed to Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima by the end of December and now is not the time to be changing ministers.

However, the opposition Liberal Democratic and New Komeito parties, as well as the ruling Democratic Party of Japan's junior coalition partner, the People's New Party, have urged Noda to dismiss Ichikawa.

The LDP and New Komeito have already said that they plan to file a censure motion against Ichikawa on Friday and added that they will boycott deliberations once the Diet reconvenes in January if Ichikawa is still in his job.

"I understand that there are many people critical of me, but I have a job to do and I want to carry it out as best as I can in order to restore public trust," Ichikawa said at a news conference, NTV reported.

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Did he do a public apology with a deep bow and with many cameras flashing?

On the other hand, I think that the Okinawans should have a better say to this matter than the LDP or the New Komeito. Even though they are all Japanese, the Okinawans may have a different tolerance level to such words.

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The words he said were not bad. Get over it.

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Well in that case the LDP and their Komeito stooges will have a tantrum and boycott the Diet, so there!

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While this is just petty bickering from the opposition, it'll likely increase and lead to the man's 'resignation' (wherein he'll be reshuffled to a new position). I agree with Elvensilvan to an extent -- you don't hear the Okinawans too upset about the man's comments, just the opposition raising their usual stink.

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the Okinawans may have a different tolerance level to such words.

Elensilvan, good comment. But, yes, we're used to getting treated like the 'other' people.

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In parliament Ichikawa looks like a total dimwit and Minshuto just continue to roll out these deadbeats into cabinet posts. My beat is on Ichikawa resigning by Friday....

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Defense Minister Ichikawa syas, "I’d have a job to do and I want to carry it out as best as I can in order to restore public trust." Of course the job he says he has to do is to file the Environmental Impact Assessment report with Okinawa prefecture within this month so that the FRF will be implemented without a hitch. But that is the most blatant disparaging of Okinawa than the sacked Okinawa Defense Bureau chief's verbal gaffe. Doesn't Ichikawa understand that? Nor Noda?

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so he is urged to resign because one of his subalterns said something controversial??

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Those Okinawa protesters are saying to Ichikawa, "責任を取れ! (implying "Step Down!") "大臣かえれー!"("go home".)

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timeon, yes...and also for his comments. When asked by a member of the Comittee, if he knew about the rape of the school girl by three US Servicemembers, he said he did, but wasn't aware of what actually happened, then tried to play it off later by making some stupid excuse.

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Gurukun, no malice intended in my first post. Even though I haven't met anyone from Okinawa, I do know that different people have different ways of looking at the same object.

It's kind of frustrating that the members of the Diet are bickering like little kids in the playground on a sunny Sunday. Wasting taxpayers' money on their salaries while they debate how the JP soccer team got sacked against NK just a few days ago, and now a threat to sit out Diet sessions because someone said some "crude language".

Elsewhere in Japan, citizens are still in the dark in terms of the safety of the food being sold in supermarkets. Just last weekend, I saw rice being sold at 2600 yen for the 10-kilo bag, but was labelled "packaged in Chiba" ... no mention where the rice was farmed. Veggies marked "from Fukushima" are likewise being sold at very low prices.

Can't these politicians do anything better than to bicker all day, all the time?

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Ichikawa said, "I am amateur concerning security." "This fund-raising party is more important than a state banquet for king and queen of Bhutan." "I understand the pain of the people of Okinawa because I was born and raised near ASDF base. (???)" "I don't know the detail about 1995 incident." "I thought it was inappropriate to talk about 1995 incident at the diet. Of course I knew it."

Noda was too careful choosing Ministers in order to have balance within DPJ. If Ichikawa was not in Ozawa group, he wouldn't have been appointed Minister in the first place.

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The people in Okinawa are furious.

The Okinawa prefectural assembly unanimously adopted a resolution that called for Ichikawa to make clear his responsibility in appointing Tanaka. The resolution also points to Ichikawa's "lack of awareness" as defense minister, in reference to his comment on the 1995 rape.


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I don't think I will ever understand how Okinawans can hard and fast link the statement to a rape that happened 16 years ago, except to think that they are just using this for publicity and are not upset at all.

Still, I think Ichikawa's days are numbered. It just may require a little more time to chuck an honest politician so as to not look like you are getting rid of him for being honest.

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Here we go again, someone acting human and messing up and saying something that got a bunch of people upset.... Get over it... now the Japanese government wont be doing a dang thing.. as far as running this country. They will now focus everything on getting this guy to resign. Sad to think that is how Japan is... This is why Japan is going nowhere... Comes to what I always say.... 2 steps forward and 5 steps back...

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Okinawa “rape” comments by a senior Defense Ministry as well as his own remarks in the Diet

Funny, the way the media frames the issue to instigate the controversy as if this man made the nasty, disgusting comments-- instead of an ex-Okinawan defense bureau. Ignorant and arrogant are not the same words, you know.

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