• Kyodo

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The Abe government on Monday picked a successor to Fumiaki Matsumoto, the senior vice minister in the Cabinet Office who quit after heckling a fellow lawmaker during Diet discussions last week on forced landings by U.S. helicopters in Okinawa.

The Cabinet appointed Ryosei Tanaka, a 54-year-old former senior vice minister in the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, as Matsumoto’s replacement.

Matsumoto tendered his resignation Friday, a day after shouting in the Diet, “How many people have died in the incidents?” when an opposition lawmaker was criticizing the government over a series of accidents and mishaps involving U.S. military aircraft in Okinawa.

Okinawa is home to the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan. Among recent mishaps, a window fell from a transport helicopter onto the grounds of an elementary school near the Futenma air base. No one was injured in that incident.

Tanaka is in his fourth term in the Lower House. He represents a district in Saitama Prefecture. Both Matsumoto and Tanaka are from the Liberal Democratic Party.

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