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Opposition parties submit censure motion against minister Ishihara

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Opposition parties submitted a censure motion against Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara for his controversial remarks on the issue of where to store nuclear-contaminated soil from crisis-hit Fukushima.

The parties including the biggest opposition Democratic Party of Japan submitted the motion to the House of Councillors, declaring the minister's apologies and retraction of the comments earlier in the day insufficient.

In a parliamentary session on the day, Ishihara retracted his remarks that suggested money would ultimately decide whether local authorities accept a proposal to build facilities to store soil contaminated with radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

"I retract my comments and apologize for causing misunderstanding" as the remarks were not made in a dignified manner, Ishihara said.

But he made clear he had no intention of resigning, saying he wanted to fulfill his responsibilities as minister.

Ishihara said he will go to Fukushima to offer apologies there shortly after the current Diet session ends on Sunday.

He initially refused to retract them, as the remarks were made at an informal session with reporters, not at a formal news conference.

But he changed his stance under mounting pressure from opposition parties.

Following the joint action by the opposition parties in the upper house, they plan to submit a no-confidence motion against Ishihara to the House of Representatives on Friday.

Commenting on the censure motion on Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference it will be rejected "without making a fuss."

Both motions are expected to be voted down as the two houses are controlled by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner the New Komeito party.

==Kyodo

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-international/140619/opposition-parties-submit-censure-motion-against-minis