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.© Japan Today