Nuclear crisis spokesman suspended for kissing on the job

The first government spokesman in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear crisis outbreak has been suspended one month for touching and kissing a woman during duty hours, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said.

After a scandal magazine revealed Hidehiko Nishiyama’s extramarital affair with a fellow METI bureucrat in June, he was stood down from his role of spokesman for METI’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. He had repeatedly touched and kissed the woman in her 30s while they were on duty in the midst of reponding to the nuclear crisis.

METI Minister Yukio Edano issued him a severe reprimand and Nishiyama was shunted to a post in the minister’s secretariat on July 15.

He was suspended from the new position after an investigation revealed he had repeatedly kissed the METI official during working hours.

“I am extremely regretful,” METI quoted former spokesman Nishiyama as saying, but refused to elaborate further on the suspension handed down Friday as it was “a matter of the official’s personal privacy.”

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