Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara has apologised for saying earthquake victims deserved to be killed and made homeless as punishment for the sinful greed of the Japanese people.
After his remarks were publicised, as he expressly told journalists to do, they were unsurprisingly the subject of widespread disgust and condemnation in Japan and beyond, he was forced into making a formal apology at a press conference:
“I deeply hurt the victims, as well as the people of the capital and the nation [...] I withdraw my remark and I am deeply sorry for this.”
For good measure, he also tried some sophistry to worm his way out:
“As the head of the administration, my use of a phrase like ‘divine punishment’ without sufficient elaboration was lacking. I am deeply sympathetic to the miserable and dismal plight of the victims.
As Tokyo governor I will do my very best to relieve the plight of these victims.”
He has not announced any change to his plans to rule Tokyo for a fourth term – in fact, his fellow crazed right-wing nut Matsuzawa just announced he will withdraw his candidacy and back Ishihara (in return for Ishihara’s promise of a choice post), so as not to split the hate vote.