Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a deputy land minister under fire for his comments over a road project involving Abe's constituency should fully explain himself. Abe said his comments were problematic but that he should continue performing his duties.
The remark in question was made earlier this week by Ichiro Tsukada, State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
When Tsukada talked about a project to build a road linking Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, he referred to Shimonoseki as the constituency of Abe and Fukuoka as that of Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso.
He said the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister cannot talk about matters involving their own constituencies, so he guessed what they were thinking.
He added that the fiscal 2019 budget includes the cost of a survey for the road project to be carried out directly by the national government, taking the place of surveys by local governments.
In an Upper House committee session on Thursday, a lawmaker from an opposition party asked the prime minister what he thinks of Tsukada's comments.
Abe said Tsukada has said his remarks do not represent the facts and retracted the comments and apologized. Abe added that Tsukada should fully explain himself but he wants him to continue to fulfill his duties.