Japan Justice Minister to Be Sacked over Gaffe


Tokyo, Nov. 11 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to replace Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi over a gaffe, government sources said Friday.

Hanashi has come under fire for stating that the justice minister is an unspectacular position in which the holder makes headlines only when he or she approves executions. He made the remark at a meeting of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday.

Hanashi's possible removal from the post, which would follow Daishiro Yamagiwa's resignation as economic revitalization minister last month over his ties with the controversial religious group known as the Unification Church, would inevitably deal a blow to the Kishida administration, pundits said.

At a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, the country's parliament, Friday morning, Kishida rejected an opposition demand for replacing Hanashi, saying that the justice minister "has to be aware of the importance of his job and fulfill his accountability."

At a news conference the same day, Hanashi said that he had also made the remark in question several times at parties and local gatherings, adding: "I'm sorry for causing (many) people to feel discomfort. I withdraw all the remarks."

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Jiji Press