Japan's Disaster Reconstruction Minister Resigns

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After only a week on the job, the man heading up Japan's disaster reconstruction efforts has resigned.

Ryu Matsumoto stepped down after criticism that he was rude to officials during a trip to the tsunami-ravaged area. Matsumoto refused to shake a governor's hand, scolded officials and threatened to withhold aid from the region.

Jin Sato, mayor of the damaged town Minami Sanriku, said the minister's comments deeply upset disaster victims already frustrated with the recovery process.
     
"I have been saying all along that this government has no sense of speed. My frank opinion is that this resignation drama is another misstep," Sato said.

The resignation also comes as a blow to Japan's Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, who is likely to face renewed pressure to step down himself.

Kan created the disaster reconstruction position in hopes of fending off critics who questioned his leadership during the disaster.

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