Asia

Japan minister resigns over remark about 2011 tsunami

  • Masahiro Imamura bows while speaking to journalists after submitting his resignation from his post, disaster reconstruction minister, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Imamura resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo. Abe accepted Imamura's resignation. (Toshiyuki Matsumoto/Kyodo News via AP)

    Masahiro Imamura bows while speaking to journalists after submitting his resignation from his post, disaster reconstruction minister, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Imamura resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo. Abe accepted Imamura's resignation. (Toshiyuki Matsumoto/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Masahiro Imamura speaks to journalists after submitting his resignation from his post, disaster reconstruction minister, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Imamura resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo. Abe accepted Imamura's resignation. (Toshiyuki Matsumoto/Kyodo News via AP)

    Masahiro Imamura speaks to journalists after submitting his resignation from his post, disaster reconstruction minister, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Imamura resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo. Abe accepted Imamura's resignation. (Toshiyuki Matsumoto/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Masahiro Imamura is surrounded by journalists after submitting his resignation from his post, disaster reconstruction minister, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Imamura resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo. Abe accepted Imamura's resignation. (Toshiyuki Matsumoto/Kyodo News via AP)

    Masahiro Imamura is surrounded by journalists after submitting his resignation from his post, disaster reconstruction minister, to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Imamura resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo. Abe accepted Imamura's resignation. (Toshiyuki Matsumoto/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Japan's disaster reconstruction minister has resigned over his remark that "it was good" that the March 2011 quake and tsunami had hit northern Japan instead of areas closer to Tokyo.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accepted Masahiro Imamura's resignation Wednesday. Imamura was replaced by Masayoshi Yoshino, former deputy environment minister from Fukushima, where more than 18,000 people died following the earthquake and tsunami.

Imamura's resignation comes a day after he made the remark in a speech at a ruling party reception, which Abe also attended.

Imamura came under fire earlier this month over his outburst and a suggestion during a news conference that those who left voluntarily following a meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant should fend for themselves.