New Japanese defense chief Yuriko Koike, first female

Yuriko Koike formally assumed the post of defense minister Wednesday, becoming the first Japanese female defense chief in place of Fumio Kyuma, who resigned a day earlier over controversial comments on atomic bombing in World War II.

New Japanese defense chief Yuriko Koike, first female
Yuriko Koike formally assumed the post of defense minister Wednesday, becoming the first Japanese female defense chief in place of Fumio Kyuma, who resigned a day earlier over controversial comments on atomic bombing in World War II.

The 54-year-old Koike was appointed top defense official Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Kyuma quitted over remarks he made on the weekend that could be taken to justify the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

She graduated from the University of Cairo in 1976 and was an Arabic interpreter and TV anchorwoman before turning to national politics.

Kyuma, 66, is the third minister that has been replaced from Abe's original 17-member Cabinet formed in September, following administrative reform minister Genichiro Sata, who quit in December over a political funds scandal, and farm minister Toshikazu Matsuoka, who committed suicide over political funds scandals.

In a speech Kyuma made Saturday at a university in Chiba prefecture, he said that "I understood the bombing (in Nagasaki) brought the war to its end. I think it was something that couldn't be helped."

The remarks immediately drew criticism from atomic bomb victims, government officials and opposition parties. Kyuma apologized over the remarks on Sunday, which apparently still could not cease its aftereffects.
Last Mod: 04 Temmuz 2007, 11:27
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