Masahiro Imamura: Japanese minister quits over Fukushima comments
Japan's reconstruction minister has resigned after making a remark that was seen as offensive to those affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Masahiro Imamura said "it was rather good" that the north-east of the country was hit, as an earthquake near Tokyo would have caused huge financial damage.
He made the comment at a party for lawmakers on Tuesday.
Public broadcaster NHK aired a video of the remark sparking outrage.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was also at the event, later apologised for Mr Imamura's words.
The 2011 earthquake was accompanied by a devastating tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Fukushima in the Tohoku region.
"Even in Tohoku, that terrible damage of 25 trillion yen (£175bn; $225bn) was incurred. If it hit places near the Tokyo area, it would have been an unimaginable disaster. That's what I meant to say," he later clarified.
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Mr Imamura submitted his letter of resignation on Wednesday, which Mr Abe accepted. Liberal Democratic party lawmaker Masayoshi Yoshino was appointed the new reconstruction minister.
The magnitude 9 earthquake left more than 18,000 people dead or missing. It triggered meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima power plant - creating the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
Many businesses in the area are still struggling to recover six years on.
Over 200,000 people were evacuated from a 20km (12 mile) area around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Many of them have given up hope of ever returning home.