SENDAI – The resignation Tuesday of reconstruction minister Ryu Matsumoto over a series of inflammatory remarks rekindled anger among municipal leaders and residents in the Tohoku region, while heightening concerns about progress toward rebuilding from the March calamity.
Sendai Mayor Emiko Okuyama criticized Matsumoto for leaving the post, telling a news conference “we have lost momentum” on reconstruction work “at a time when we must put in place concrete measures as soon as possible. I couldn’t be more disappointed.”
Futoshi Toba, mayor of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, told reporters of his “deep regret” at Matsumoto’s resignation, having consulted the minister extensively regarding the relief work.
A senior official in the Fukushima Prefectural Government said Matsumoto, who took the post only eight days ago, exited too early and “it would be no good” if feuds surrounding his resignation hamper reconstruction.
Shin Takeyama, 62, of Miyagi, who moved from a shelter into a temporary house, said Matsumoto’s resignation was appropriate.