- 14 Mar 2002
Yesterday, Hanashi Yasuhiro resigned as justice minister after coming under fire over a remark he made about the death penalty. Last Wednesday, Hanashi said he has a "low-profile" position in the Cabinet that only gets him onto the noon TV news programs when he gives his stamp of approval for carrying out a death sentence. He retracted the comment the next day. PM Kishida reversed course and sacked his embattled justice minister, Yasuhiro Hanashi, only hours after denying he had any intention of firing him. Most commentators view the "resignation dominoes" (in October, Minister of Economics Yamagiwa stepped back over his close ties to the Unification Church) as proof of PM Kishida's poor crisis management skills.
Kishida met with reporters in the evening of Nov. 11 and explained that he was appointing Ken Saito, a former agriculture minister, to replace Hanashi. Just before that, Hanashi met with Kishida to hand him his resignation. Hanashi then told reporters he was stepping down. "I used the term 'death sentence' too lightly," Hanashi said. "I caused the public and Justice Ministry officials to hold uncomfortable feelings. I have also caused Diet deliberations to stall." Kishida had just publicly defended Hanashi that morning in an appearance at the Upper House plenary session. He explained to lawmakers that Hanashi would remain in his post since the minister had retracted his remark and apologized for it. But Kishida apparently changed his mind shortly afterward. Even lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party were flabbergasted by the remark made by Hanashi on Nov. 9 at a gathering of LDP lawmakers, and some openly speculated it would cost him his job.
Kishida dumps justice minister for remarks on death penalty | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis
EDITORIAL: Hanashi debacle delivers another blow to Kishida’s shaky leadership | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis
The minister’s departure marks the second Kishida Cabinet member to resign in less than three weeks.
Editorial: Minister's resignation reveals Japan PM Kishida's poor crisis management skills - The Mainichi
Japanese Justice Minister Yasuhiro Hanashi has resigned from his post after coming under fire for a remark making light of executions, which as justic