Japan sports minister Hakubun Shimomura resigns over Olympics stadium row

Shimomura said at a news conference on September 25 that he called Abe the previous evening to express his intention to step down. “I made the decision with the release of the report”.


Japan’s Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura, a close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has resigned over the scrapping of plans for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics centrepiece stadium after a cost blow-out.

But following slumping support for Abe and his administration, following the Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition’s steamrolling of unconstitutional and publicly-denounced security legislation through the lower house of parliament at that time, Abe, eying restoring public support, scrapped the construction plans, ordering them to be revised from scratch.

Kono was also singled out by the sports ministry’s third-party committee for failing to fulfill his responsibility of overseeing such a hard and complicated project as building a new National Stadium. He said Abe asked him to stay in office until a Cabinet reshuffle that is expected soon. The total of about ¥900,000 was paid in addition to his salary as a Diet member. He said the political opposition and civic and social groups’ concern that Japan may enter the path of war is irresponsible criticism.

“It was a praiseworthy decision as a politician, since he has tried to clarify who was responsible”, said Yoshihisa Inoue, secretary general of Komeito.


After a U.S.-led move to slap sanctions on Russia following its intervention in Ukraine, which Japan seconded, an official visit to Japan by Putin has been delayed as diplomacy between the two countries became frosty following the sanctions, but as relations thaw, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, earlier this week agreed to restart ministerial level talks on a peace treaty. However, Abe is set to keep key figures, including Suga and Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, in their current posts, the sources said. The appointment was endorsed at a Cabinet meeting that morning.

Hakubun Shimomura bites his lips during a news conference in Tokyo today