Viewers were shocked to see the Reconstruction Minister rip into a journalist but then they couldn’t tear their eyes away from his necktie.
Masahiro Imamura, the minister in charge of reconstruction in the disaster-hit Tohoku area, made news this week after he stormed out of a press conference following a heated exchange with a Japanese journalist.
Imamura was answering questions from the press after the Fukushima Prefectural Government ceased financial assistance for housing 26,000 voluntary evacuees from areas around the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on 31 March.
Tensions rose at the press conference, which was held on 4 April, when a freelance journalist, who has not been identified, repeatedly asked Imamura how the Reconstruction Agency planned to assist these voluntary evacuees.
Imamura maintained that voluntary evacuee assistance was the responsibility of the Fukushima Prefectural Government rather than the central government, but after being pressed by the journalist to “answer more responsibly”, the minister suddenly raised his voice, insisting that he was doing his job responsibly, before berating the journalist for his rudeness and demanding he retract his comment.
Gesturing towards the door, the minister told the journalist to “Get out!” and “Never come here again!” before leaving the podium and exiting, shouting at the journalist to “Shut up!” as he left the room.
The heated exchange occurs at the 6:22 mark in the video below:
The incident was quickly picked up by the media, with the footage appearing on news reports around the country, and the minister issuing a formal apology for his emotional outburst the same afternoon. While Japanese viewers were shocked and appalled by the minister’s behaviour, many of them took to social media to discuss the big white elephant in the room that nobody else seemed to have picked up on: the fact that the minister was yelling from a position of authority all while wearing a cute and colourful anime necktie.
たまネギ@ダヨーさん制作班 (@negidanshakuimo) April 04, 2017
The illustrated characters, which were clearly seen on screen, are from the hugely popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. With a number of Eva ties available on the market, eagle-eyed fans of the franchise were able to track down the exact tie the minister was wearing.
＜批判するのは、そこじゃないです＞ ＃エヴァンゲリオン のネクタイを締めていたことで、今村雅弘復興相を「ふざけている」と揶揄されている方を散見しますが、福島県三春町で作られたもので、1月28日に福島ガイナックスから贈呈されたもの。… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
コハラ ミユキ (@milkykoara) April 06, 2017
While many questioned why a man in such a high-ranking senior position would be wearing an anime necktie, fans were quick to come up with the answer. The necktie comes from a Japanese anime studio called Gainax, which has produced a number of popular productions over the years, including Neon Genesis Evangelion. In 2015, Gainax opened a studio and in-house museum in the town of Miharu, Fukushima, one of the disaster-hit areas in the Tohoku region, as part of plans to help revive tourism in the area following the disasters in 2011.
So it makes sense for the Reconstruction Minister to wear a necktie that shows his support for the Fukushima region. It’s just unfortunate that he chose to lose his temper at the press conference, regardless of what type of outfit he was wearing.