Tokyo’s outspoken conservative governor Shintaro Ishihara has apologised for describing Japan’s deadly earthquake and tsunami as “divine punishment”.
“[The remarks] hurt victims, Tokyo residents and victims,” he told a news conference. “I deeply apologise.”
Mr Ishihara, 78, said yesterday that Japanese people were becoming “greedy” and highlighted the case of people who continue to pocket their parents’ pensions by delaying death notifications.
“It is necessary to wash away the greedy mind… by using the tsunami,” he told reporters.
“I think that it is divine punishment.”
Mr Ishihara has retracted the remarks as the nation works frantically to avert a nuclear meltdown and fights to rescue survivors from Friday’s twin disasters.
The governor, who has also served in the national parliament, announced his candidacy for a fourth four-year term on Friday.
Mr Ishihara is known for his nationalistic views and has denied Japanese atrocities before and during World War II such as the Rape of Nanking.
He first gained prominence in the West for co-authoring the 1989 book The Japan That Can Say No, which called for Japan to assert itself against its former occupying power and security ally the United States. Article Source