Abe Sacks Olympics Minister Sakurada after Fresh Gaffe

Politics

Tokyo, April 10 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apparently ousted Yoshitaka Sakurada as minister for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on Wednesday, following his fresh gaffe earlier in the day.

Sakurada submitted his resignation to the prime minister after he made a controversial remark in a speech at a party in Tokyo for House of Representatives lawmaker Hinako Takahashi of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Sakurada said gathering support for Takahashi, elected from the Tohoku northeastern region, is "more important than reconstruction" in areas mainly in Tohoku hit by the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami.

The remark came on top of a series of his earlier gaffes, including a comment in February that he was "disappointed" at swimmer Rikako Ikee's revelation of her suffering from leukemia in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Ahead of by-elections for the Lower House and local elections on April 21, the latest incident dealt an additional blow to the Abe administration, following the resignation of Ichiro Tsukada as state minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism on Friday.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press