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Reconstruction Minister Resigns

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Reconstruction Minister Resigns

Former Reconstruction Minister Ryu Matsumoto stepped down last week after blaming Fukuoka and his type-B blood type for his making offensive comments to the governor of tsunami-ravaged Iwate Prefecture. (AP Photo)

Ryu Matsumoto stepped down last week from his post as reconstruction minister, a position recently created by embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan, after making comments that were widely considered to be offensive.

Frustrated that he was made to wait for Iwate Gov. Yoshihiro Murai, Matsumoto scolded Murai, saying: “When a guest comes to visit, do not call up the guest until you have arrived in the room. Do you understand?”

Matsumoto then told journalists in the room not to report his words.

Matsumoto told Murai that the central government would not help municipalities that did not have good ideas about rebuilding. His general demeanor was regarded as arrogant and uncaring.

At a news conference Tuesday, a teary-eyed Matsumoto announced he would be stepping down without explaining his reasons. He said: “I have many things I would like to say. But I will be gone from now.”

Kan said he hoped to appoint a new reconstruction minister soon. Hopefully he does a more thorough background check for the next minister. Matsumoto’s brother-in-law is a yakuza boss in Kyushu. Given how entrenched the yakuza is in the construction industry, I can imagine potential conflicts-of-interest given Matsumoto’s post as reconstruction minister.

Matsumoto later apologized, blaming his behavior on his Fukuoka background, which is supposedly more frank, and his type-B blood type, which makes him unforgiving. (Blood types are used in Japan similar to the way horoscopes are used in the West. I think it is pseudo-scientific superstition. Then again, I’m type O–Os are stubborn.)



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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