Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Sunday criticized Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka for trying to remove Vice Foreign Minister Yutaka Kawashima, the ministry’s top bureaucrat and canceling talks with key overseas figures.

“The foreign minister has the responsibility of overseeing Foreign Ministry officials, but they are not servants,” Mori said in a television talk show. “The minister should not say such things as quit.”

Mori also blasted Tanaka for suddenly canceling her meeting last week with visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and scheduled telephone conversations with key overseas figures.

“Putting forward personal emotions should be avoided. It involves national interests,” Mori said.

“I’m well aware of her ways of expressing herself, and Liberal Democratic Party legislators had anticipated such problems would arise,” Mori said. “It’s unacceptable if you can’t make distinctions between right and wrong.”

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