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New tourism minister Nariaki Nakayama wasted no time putting his foot in it. The day after stating that Japanese do not like foreigners and that the country is ethnically homogeneous, Nakayama apologized Friday and retracted his statements.

“I am sorry for having caused trouble to the people,” the land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister told a news conference. “I retract my remarks that I think fell too short (of an explanation) or went too far.”

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