TOKYO - Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, under cloud for saying the World War II atomic bombing of his country "couldn't be helped," resigned Tuesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who met with Kyuma before he stepped down, had accepted his resignation, the minister told reporters, Kyodo news service reported.
"I didn't want this to have an impact on the House of Councilors election. That was what I was most concerned about," Kyuma was quoted as saying in reference to the upper house election set for July 29.
"I understand the bombing brought the war to its end. I think it was something that couldn't be helped," the minister was quoted as saying during a weekend speech, which led to the controversy.
Subsequently he apologized and retracted his remarks, Kyodo reported.
Abe warned him Monday to be more careful so as not to hurt the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the elections.
Separately, the Nagasaki assembly unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday saying it "cannot accept by any measure" Kyuma's comments, which could be taken to endorse the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Kyodo said.
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