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Japan Olympics minister expresses intention to resign over gaffes

Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada expresses his intention to resign, at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on the evening of April 10, 2019. (Mainichi/Toshiki Miyama)

TOKYO -- Japanese Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada on April 10 expressed his intention to resign to take responsibility for a series of gaffes.

Sakurada conveyed his intention to step down to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at the prime minister's office following a gaffe earlier that day relating to Japan's recovery from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

During a party in Tokyo for Hinako Takahashi, a member of the House of Representatives belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Sakurada had stated, "Ms. Takahashi is more important than restoration. Please extend your assistance."

Earlier he came under fire after expressing disappointment at swimmer Rikako Ikee's diagnosis with leukemia when she was viewed as an Olympic medal hopeful. In response to the news about Ikee's illness on Feb. 12, Sakurada had told reporters, "I'm really disappointed," and added, "I'm worried that the swell (for the Olympic Games) might go down a bit."

(Japanese original by Shu Furukawa, Political News Department)

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