July 12, 2018
Okayama- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday brushed aside criticism of his government's initial response to the recent torrential rain that struck western Japan.
Abe indicated that he did not believe there was a problem with the speed in which the government had responded to the disaster.
"We have done our best since the disaster happened," he told reporters during a visit to Okayama Prefecture which includes one of the hardest-hit districts.
Abe has come under fire from the opposition for attending a party with lawmakers from his ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday night when a warning of heavy rains was already in place for western Japan.
The government has also been criticized for failing to establish a disaster management task force in a timely manner. The task force was set up on Sunday.
Abe insisted that the government wasted no time in setting up a team of officials tasked with helping affected people.
"We intend to listen to those people on the ground and work closely with local communities in order to respond to the disaster as well as we can," Abe said.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura apologized for posting a photo of Thursday's party on Twitter.
"I have made many people uncomfortable," Nishimura said on television. "I apologize for this and regret it."
The party brought together dozens of LDP lawmakers, including party policy chief Fumio Kishida, in addition to Abe. Jiji Press
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