JAPAN | Kan gives New Komeito, LDP an earful

Posted on July 9, 2011

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JAPAN | ASAHI SHIMBUN | 9 July 2011

In a scene that resembled a children’s playground argument of “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I?” a Lower House plenary session on July 8 broke down into a war of words as a New Komeito lawmaker launched a blistering salvo at Naoto Kan, and the embattled prime minister fired right back.

“You have been stacking up mistakes on top of mistakes, but you’re still hanging on to the prime minister’s seat,” said New Komeito’s Shigeki Sato, concluding his remarks on a bill to set up an agency to assist compensation payments for damages from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Not finished, Sato tossed in an ad hominem attack: “You should settle these matters by yourself before you go down in history as a shameless–and the worst ever–prime minister.”

Kan admitted that the current administration bore great responsibility for the Fukushima accident, but retorted: “New Komeito was in the ruling coalition for a long time, so it also bears some responsibility. You run against the culture of shame if you push your own mishandling on the back of others and try to flee from that responsibility.”

Kan also had a few barbs for the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.

When the LDP’s Fukushiro Nukaga criticized Kan’s response to the nuclear accident, the prime minister answered sarcastically, “The LDP played the central role for a long time in promoting nuclear power. I hope you will help to solve the problem by way of sharing the responsibility with us.”

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