TOKYO, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Former chief Cabinet secretary Yukio Edano was likely to be named Japan's trade minister, succeeding Yoshio Hachiro, who quit, Kyodo News reported Monday.
Quoting a government source, Kyodo reported Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who took office just days ago, planned to bring in Edano to contain a political setback resulting from the weekend resignation of Hachiro over a joke about nuclear radiation that offended people affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Edano was the chief Cabinet secretary under Noda's predecessor, Naoto Kan, who stepped down over criticism about the handling of the deadly March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the radiation-leaking crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Edano himself was much admired for handling his job as the government's main spokesman.
Kan's resignation paved the way for Noda's succession as prime minister.
Hachiro had apologized for his gaffe but that did not contain calls for his resignation, The New York Times reported.
"It was an inappropriate remark," Noda was quoted as saying. "I want to apologize and correct the remark."
In his remark, as reported by the Japanese media, Hachiro, after visiting the crippled nuclear plant, was quoted as jokingly telling a reporter: "Look out, radiation."