Japan’s Lower House lawmaker Hodaka Maruyama made reckless remarks Sunday yet again. He had earlier sparked controversy by saying that war is the only way to get the Dokdo islets back, in response to six South Korean lawmakers’ visit to Dokdo on Saturday in their condemnation of Tokyo’s export curbs on Seoul.
Rep. Maruyama, a member of the Party to Protect the People from NHK, said he would go to Dokdo if he is given 300 million yen (around 3.4 billion won), after an online user criticized his previous remarks. He then said he wants 300 million yen first for an investigation, and an extra budget in the coming year and beyond. “Please refer to the homepage for my bank account number,” he added. As complaints piled up following such comments, the 35-year-old lawmaker hurriedly explained that he was joking and donations for political funds have a limit of up to 20 million yen a year.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s changed attitude was also controversial. When asked by a reporter about Maruyama’s wild remarks during Monday’s regular briefing, Suga said that he wants to “refrain from commenting on a lawmaker’s personal remarks.” In May, however, when Maruyama called for a war to get back the Northern Territories, a territory claimed by both Russia and Japan, Suga had expressed regret and actively explained that the lawmaker’s personal comments are different from the Japanese government’s official stance while adding Maruyama himself should be held responsible for the comments.