Japan’s Transportation Minister Quits
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: September 28, 2008
TOKYO — Prime Minister Taro Aso’s fledgling government suffered an early blow on Sunday night when the transportation minister resigned for verbal gaffes that had outraged school teachers and the nation’s ethnic minorities and foreign residents.
The minister, Nariaki Nakayama, quit just five days into office, after causing an uproar for calling the powerful left-leaning teachers union “a cancer on Japanese education” and the Japanese people a “homogeneous race” that “dislikes foreigners.”
While Mr. Nakayama hastily apologized, his quick departure appeared to be an effort at damage control by Mr. Aso, who was elected prime minister last week by the governing Liberal Democratic Party ahead of tightly fought national elections that could take place as early as next month.