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Two cabinet ministers censured in Japan Diet

Date Posted: 2011-12-16

The actions of the upper house of the Diet in censuring two cabinet ministers is shaking the foundation of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Noda’s three-month-old administration was rattled as the upper house, which is controlled by the opposition parties, censured Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa for “threatening Japan’s national security and damaging the national interest by his irresponsible words and attitudes.” A total of 130 of the 239 lawmakers in the upper house passed the motion after Ishikawa irritated Okinawans with a series of remarks a few days ago.

Kenji Yamaoka, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, also was censured by the Upper House, in his case for allegedly having ties to business groups known for illicit and unethical conduct and practices. Yamaoka was accused of not being an appropriate person to be in charge of consumer affairs.

The non-binding censures came at the hands of the lead opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP has gone a step beyond the censures, though, saying its members will boycott the Diet starting in January if the Prime Minister doesn’t dismiss the two cabinet ministers, or if they don’t resign. Noda, the sixth Japanese Prime Minister in five years, is thought to be worried about what the loss of two more ministers would do to his young ministerial career.

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