Japan's new PM faces early trouble after minister gaffes

September 10, 2011 07:00

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's new government ran into trouble after just a week in office with calls for one of his ministers to quit over gaffes on the sensitive topic of radiation from the tsunami-hit Fukushima plant.

Trade Minister Yoshio Hachiro faced pressure to resign on Saturday after reports that he joked with a reporter about radiation from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Hachiro was quoted in Japanese media as attempting to rub up against a reporter saying "I'll give you radiation" after visiting the Fukushima plant on Thursday.

Ruling Democratic Party policy committee chief Seiji Maehara said it is "very serious" if the report was true.

"It is important for him to explain clearly his true intentions by today," Maehara said.

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