TOKYO, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday accepted the resignation of parliamentary vice Cabinet Office minister Shunsuke Mutai for his repeated gaffes.
Yasumasa Nagasaka, a fellow lower house lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was appointed Mutai's successor, with the latter tending his resignation on Thursday evening to disaster management minister Jun Matsumoto.
His resignation follows him being cautioned last year for being carried across a small puddle in an area devastated by flooding in the wake of Typhoon Lionrock in the northeastern prefecture of Iwate in September.
Mutai was pictured receiving a piggyback from one of his staff across a very shallow area of water as he had neglected to wear the appropriate footwear.
He apologized at the time, but at a fundraising event for himself in Tokyo on Wednesday he joked that the "boot industry really made some money" as a result of his initial gaffe.
Lionrock, which made landfall on Aug. 30 last year, brought heavy rainfall to Hokkaido, Iwate and other northern areas and killed 22 people across Japan, including 19 in a single town in Iwate.
Both main political camps, therefore, took aim at Mutai in parliament the following day for making light of the situation.
"It was an inappropriate and highly regrettable remark that raised the question of whether he was really sorry for what he did," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.
Suga, the government's top spokesperson, made the remarks by way of an apology to the public for Mutai's inappropriate action and remark.
The "boot" comment was made just days before Japan commemorates the sixth anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The earthquake-triggered tsunami saw wide swathes of land lost to sea water following the powerful earthquake and as with Lionrock left areas devastated by floodwater.
Suga said the government will work hard to ensure that areas still damaged in the wake of the March 11 disasters will be revitalized at the earliest opportunity.