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'Shut up!' U.N. rights envoy quits over tirade in Geneva

Kyodo

Japan’s human rights envoy stepped down Friday after facing criticism for screaming at a U.N. panel meeting to “shut up!” in Geneva in May, the Foreign Ministry said.

Hideaki Ueda, 68, yelled at participants in the May 22 session of the Committee against Torture, which was examining Japan’s report on adhering to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Foreign Ministry said press secretary Kuni Sato will double as Ueda’s successor.

The gaffe took place as Ueda countered a remark by one diplomat that Japan’s criminal justice system depends on coerced confessions and is more in line with the Middle Ages.

Ueda’s rebuttal that Japan is a world leader in human rights drew guffaws from the other participants, at which point he screamed in English: “Don’t laugh! Why you are laughing? Shut up! Shut up!”

A clip was subsequently uploaded on YouTube and Kenji Hiramatsu, director general of the Foreign Policy Bureau, issued a verbal warning to Ueda, saying his remarks were “not suitable in a formal occasion,” sources said.

Ueda was appointed ambassador in charge of human rights and humanitarian affairs in 2008 after retiring from the ministry the previous year.

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