METI official loses post for blog insulting 3/11 victims

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

A senior trade ministry official has been stripped of his post for writing anonymous blog posts criticizing the government’s commitment to the victims of the March 2011 tsunami and to rebuilding the quake-hit Tohoku region.

In a September 2011 entry on his personal blog, the official said that the government shouldn’t help rebuild disaster-hit areas for the sake of “old men and women who indulge in the vested interest of their fishing rights.”

The official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, whose name was withheld, was removed Wednesday from his post as representative at Expo 2015 in Milan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday.

The METI official also wrote: “I wish politicians who won’t say the right thing — namely that reconstruction is unnecessary — would all die.”

Largely unnoticed at the time it was posted in 2011, the recently spotted entry had evolved into public outrage by Wednesday. METI opened an investigation after being tipped off by an outsider and zeroed in on the official, who admitted writing the posts, the ministry said.

“This is something that a state government worker should never do,” Suga told reporters. “It’s extremely regrettable.”

In a similar incident, a senior official at the Reconstruction Agency was punished in June for repeatedly using derogatory language on Twitter to insult lawmakers and citizens’ groups who were calling for more support for victims in disaster-hit areas.