Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda could find himself in hot water for comments he made Wednesday that Iraq was able to invade Kuwait in 1990 because of Kuwait’s “absent-mindedness.”

Hosoda, the top government spokesman, was speaking about the importance for a nation to build its defensive capabilities.

The remarks were made during a regular news conference when he was asked to comment on the 50th anniversary of the Self-Defense Forces, formed July 1, 1954.

“Out of simple absent-mindedness, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, which greatly ravaged the nation,” Hosoda remarked. “This incident has taught us a lesson.”

The chief Cabinet secretary, often criticized for talking too much during news conferences, later called reporters to another room and withdrew the comments, saying they were “inappropriate” and likely “to lead to misunderstandings.”

“What I meant to say was that it is possible for a country, even if it has done nothing wrong, to be abruptly invaded by another country.”

Hosoda may get another chance to apologize for the comments.

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is scheduled to meet his Tokyo counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, during a July 12-14 visit to Japan as part of an Asian swing.

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