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Japanese official suspended for telling tsunami victims to ‘drop dead’

Published time: September 26, 2013 21:17
Japanese women wash their salvaged belongings in a stream due to lack of water in the tsunami-devastated town of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, on April 2, 2011 (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Japanese women wash their salvaged belongings in a stream due to lack of water in the tsunami-devastated town of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, on April 2, 2011 (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)

A senior Japanese bureaucrat has been suspended for making derogatory remarks about victims of the 2011 tsunami. In his blog, Hisanori Goto called inhabitants of the disaster-hit towns "old coots and hags”.

The 51-year-old civil servant from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was tracked down by readers outraged over an anonymous post he made in September 2011, just six months after the disaster that killed over 18,000 people.

Goto wrote that the economically-depressed small towns along the stricken eastern coastline were “already in ruins” and that rebuilding them at a huge expense would only benefit “old coots and hags with vested interests in the fishing industry”.

He also posted a photo of an elderly tsunami victim, with the caption “Drop dead”.

The bureaucrat added that "politicians who won't come out with the fair argument that reconstruction is unnecessary might as well die.”

Japan’s recovery from the natural disaster, as well as the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, is predicted to eventually cost in excess of $200 billion.

Before reporting him to his superiors, readers matched the photo attached to the blog with another Goto had posted online.

"It was an unforgivable act for a national public servant. We think it was extremely regrettable," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

Nonetheless, Goto’s suspension will last only two months, according to reports in the Japanese media.

Japanese workers use a hydraulic machine to demolish a wrecked building in the tsunami-devastated town of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, on April 2, 2011 (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Japanese firemen pick through the rubble looking for bodies of victims of the tsunami in a flooded area of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on April 1, 2011 (AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba)