The government on Monday picked a successor to Fumiaki Matsumoto, a senior vice minister at the Cabinet Office who quit after heckling another lawmaker at the Diet in a discussion of forced landings by U.S. helicopters in Okinawa.
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appointed Ryosei Tanaka, a 54-year-old former senior vice minister at the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, as Matsumoto’s replacement.
Matsumoto tendered his resignation on Friday after calling out in the Diet the previous day, “How many people have died in the incidents?” when an opposition lawmaker criticized the Japanese government over a series of accidents and mishaps involving U.S. military aircraft in the southern island prefecture.
Okinawa is home to the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan and local residents have been angered by recent mishaps including a window falling from an American transport helicopter onto the grounds of an elementary school near U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which left nobody injured.
Tanaka is a fourth-term House of Representatives member representing a constituency in Saitama, north of Tokyo. Both Matsumoto and Tanaka belong to Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party.