• Kyodo


The government on Friday replaced a parliamentary vice minister who was warned last year after he was seen being carried across a puddle in a typhoon-hit area and then made light of the gaffe this week.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accepted the resignation of 60-year-old Shunsuke Mutai as parliamentary vice Cabinet Office minister.

The resignation came one day before the sixth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that devastated parts of the Tohoku region in March 2011.

Mutai tendered a letter of resignation to Disaster Management Minister Jun Matsumoto on Thursday evening.

On a September visit to an area in Iwate Prefecture hit hard by deadly flooding from Typhoon Lionrock, he was photographed being carried on the back of a staff member through a shallow pool of floodwater, having neglected to bring appropriate footwear.

Mutai apologized at the time but joked at a fundraising party in Tokyo on Wednesday evening that the “boot industry really made some money” as a result of the gaffe. This prompted criticism from both sides of the aisle.

His successor, 59-year-old Yasumasa Nagasaka, is a fellow Lower House lawmaker who belongs to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

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