Finance Minister Taro Aso came under fire again on Friday for a comment during a Diet session that suggests a belittling attitude toward sexual harassment, saying his ministry's former top bureaucrat might have fallen into a trap by a female reporter.

"Such a possibility can't be ruled out," Aso said during a session of the Lower House financial committee, after saying that the reporter had intentionally tried to get then-Administrative Vice Minister Junichi Fukuda to make sexual advances.

Aso's statement sparked strong words from opposition lawmakers. Seiji Osaka, a senior member of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, told reporters he was "past being surprised by the unwillingness to admit fault and downright angry."