June 17, 2014, 2:22 pm
AFPJapan minister apologises for Fukushima money gaffe
Tokyo (AFP) - A Japanese cabinet minister apologised on Tuesday after appearing to suggest people in nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima could be persuaded to put up with contaminated waste if the government threw cash at them.
Environment minister Nobuteru Ishihara came under fire after saying money would be a decisive factor for local governments and residents being asked to accept plans to build storage facilities for radioactive waste.
The remarks were seen as insensitive to the tens of thousands of people who remain unable to return to homes around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant because of persistently high levels of radiation.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato immediately hit back, saying: "It was extremely regrettable. The remarks rode roughshod over the feelings of residents who are longing for their hometowns."
Ishihara on Tuesday told reporters "I sincerely apologise to those who were annoyed by my remarks."