[Newly appointed Transport Minister Kazuyoshi] Kaneko took over the post earlier this week after his predecessor, Nariaki Nakayama, was forced to resign only four days into the job after making several verbal gaffes.
Among Nakayama’s controversial statements was the assertion that Japan is “ethnically homogeneous.”
Kaneko disavowed Nakayama’s controversial statement and acknowledged Japan’s growing ethnic diversity. Asked about the exclusionary mentality of some Japanese, the Lower House lawmaker, who represents the Gifu No. 4 constituency, said it is imperative for people to welcome foreign tourists with hospitality.
“Some might not like foreign tourists to come very much,” Kaneko said. “Although it’s not our intention to change the people’s mind-set, the major task of the new agency commissioner will be to attract many foreign tourists,” Kaneko said.