Calls for Hideaki Ueda, Japan’s human rights envoy to the United Nations, to step down are quickly rising this week after a video was posted on the internet that shows the envoy shouting “shut up” at fellow diplomats during a meeting. The incident took place in Geneva at a gathering of the UN torture committee, and as the video has made its way to YouTube, online criticism is rising that Ueda has embarrassed Japan and needs to be recalled.
As an attendee at the UN session, Shinichiro Koike, a Japanese lawyer and blogger, described Ueda’s outburst as part of a quick response to criticism over the fact that Japan’s justice system doesn’t allow lawyers to be present when police question suspects. As Ueda starts to talk, it becomes apparent that he is not completely fluent, or comfortable, in speaking in English. Koike says that Ueda’s first words prompted some giggling, which cannot be heard in the video, below.
“Certainly Japan is not in the middle age, we are one of the most advanced country in this field.
“Don’t laugh! Why you are laughing? Shut up! Shut up!
“We are one of the most advanced country in this field. That is our proud. Of course, there are still shortages of course, shortcomings.
“Every country has shortages and shortcomings, but we are trying our best to improve our situation.”
Among the many comments online about Ueda’s outburst include the following: “It is a problem that tax money is being used to feed a diplomat who is audacious and arrogant, who is only feeding his ego, despite his impotence.” One Twitter user also wrote, “We should replace such an incompetent old man who is only causing harm.” Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun wrote that Ueda’s comment was the latest in several public gaffes from high-profile politicians that have angered other nations recently. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has gone silent over the last few weeks, after he caused a global uproar by stating that the use of sexual slaves, or “comfort women,” by the military was “necessary” during World War II. Prior to that, Tokyo’s Governor Naoki Inose offended the country of Turkey and the Muslim world by saying that Islamic nations have nothing in common but Allah and “fighting with each other,” when expressing his thoughts on the city of Istanbul hosting the 2020 Olympics.