Ja­panese PM apol­o­gizes for heck­ling law­maker


Ja­pan’s par­lia­men­tary ses­sion opened Mon­day with an un­usual apol­ogy from Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe over his heck­ling.

Abe apol­o­gized for yelling at an op­po­si­tion law­maker dur­ing her ques­tion last week about de­fense leg­is­la­tion.

“I apol­o­gize once again over my re­mark, and I will humbly deal with the sit­u­a­tion from now on,” Abe said at the lower house com­mit­tee on the peace and se­cu­rity leg­is­la­tion.

Abe in­ter­vened last week when Demo­cratic Party of Ja­pan mem­ber Kiy­omi Tsu­ji­moto was tak­ing sev­eral min­utes to ask if the leg­is­la­tion could in­crease the risk of ca­su­al­ties for Ja­panese de­fense troops.

“Come on, just ask a ques­tion!” Abe heck­led from his seat, tem­po­rar­ily stalling the ses­sion as Tsu­ji­moto paused, stared at him and protested.

Tsu­ji­moto later wrote in her blog that Abe’s heck­ling was not just an in­sult to her but un­der­scored his lack of un­der­stand­ing about the ba­sic prin­ci­ples of democ­racy.

Abe said her long ques­tion was tak­ing away from his time to re­spond, then re­luc­tantly apol­o­gized, but faced fur­ther crit­i­cism from both op­po­si­tion and rul­ing par­ties.

On Mon­day, the com­mit­tee chair­man Ya­sukazu Ha­mada urged Abe and other Cabi­net min­is­ters to “re­frain from mak­ing un­nec­es­sary re­marks,” par­tic­u­larly as the public is pay­ing close at­ten­tion to the dis­cus­sion.

Last Wed­nes­day, the day be­fore his out­burst, Abe slammed heck­ling from op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers who al­leged his re­sponses were too long and re­dun­dant.

“Please stop ob­struct­ing the dis­cus­sion. Didn’t you learn that at school?” Abe said.

Just days be­fore his visit to the U.S. in late April, Abe said he looked for­ward to speak­ing be­fore the U.S. Congress where he did not ex­pect to be heck­led.


Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe bows at the start of a par­lia­men­tary ses­sion in Tokyo, Mon­day, June 1.

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