Today, Fumio Kyuma resigned from his position as Minister of Defence for Shinzo Abe, finally succumbing to his terrible affliction of foot-in-mouth disease. It is unseemly for a minister representing Nagasaki to suggest that the atomic bombings were inevitable, just as it was unseemly for a cabinet minister of a US chief ally to criticise the US decision to go to war while his troops still operated with the US in-country.
However, in both these cases, was Kyuma necessarily wrong?
I don’t think so. In the latest case, Kyuma was stating only what we often here spoken in our own countries: the atomic bombings of Japan were necessary in order to save the lives of the invading Allies in the face of a Japanese government that just would not quit. Now, sure, Nagasaki is a more difficult case to justify, but apart from showing himself to be a poor politician, I believe that Kyuma’s slight against Japan’s victim-status has been overstated and overpoliticised. However, he seemed to lose the confidence of his constituency, so thus it is right that he should resign. As Kyuma himself put it:
Yuriko Koike, previously Special Advisor on National Security, is to replace him. As Minister for the Environment under Koizumi, she created the Motte Nai campaign, and as Abe’s go-to girl on security, she has had a firm hand in elements of MoD affairs for a while now. She will make for an interesting change.