After spring’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s administration created the position of minister for reconstruction and looked to appointee Ryu Matsumoto to help the recovery effort on several levels. That didn’t turn out so well.

As it happened, Matsumoto’s tenure lasted all of one week, ending with his resignation announcement Tuesday. Turns out his diplomacy skills were severely lacking, which was the last thing Kan needed from his last line of PR defense. Now, the prime minister himself is expected to step down and says he will as soon as some reconstruction-related bills are passed. –KA


Japan’s Minister for Reconstruction Ryu Matsumoto has announced his resignation after just a week in the job.

He had been widely criticised for making insensitive remarks to governors of areas badly affected by March’s deadly earthquake and tsunami.

He had said the government would not help them financially unless they came up with good rebuilding proposals.

The resignation will increase pressure on Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s already unpopular government.

The appointment of Mr Matsumoto to the newly created post of disaster reconstruction minister was seen as an effort to deflect further criticism of Mr Kan’s administration.

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