Koizumi's Puzzling Remarks Spur Concerns at Govt, LDP


Tokyo, Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)--Puzzling speeches made by new Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi have sparked concerns among officials of the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over his ability to respond as a minister.

Koizumi assumed his first ministerial post in a cabinet reshuffle conducted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also LDP president, on Sept. 11. Remarks and actions by Koizumi, a rising political star seen as a powerful candidate to succeed Abe, have been drawing stronger attention since then.

Koizumi, however, faced a backlash for calling efforts to address climate issues as "sexy" at a press conference in New York last Sunday, before the start of a U.N. climate summit the following day. "On tackling such a big-scale issue like climate change, it's got to be fun, it's got to be cool. It's got to be sexy, too," Koizumi said.

Also, it is becoming increasingly evident that Koizumi often stops short of going into details when asked about policies.

Asked about the government's plan on the disposal of soil and other waste tainted with radioactive substances from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Koizumi dodged reporters, saying, "Since the disaster, I've been wondering how old I will be after 30 years."

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Jiji Press