28 Sep 2008

New Japanese transport minister resigns

5:13 pm on 28 September 2008

Japan's transport minister has resigned over a series of gaffes, just days after the new Prime Minister Taro Aso's cabinet took office.

Nariaki Nakayama described Japan as "homogenous" - a remark sure to upset the country's indigenous Ainu people.

He also called Japan's biggest teachers' union a cancer in the education system and accused farmers fighting for land seized for airport construction of making profits by whining.

The staunch conservative headed a group which denied that Japanese troops massacred tens of thousands of people in the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937.