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'Shut up' gaffe exposes envoy to criticism

Japan diplomat faces calls for resignation after video shows him telling delegates at a UN meeting to "shut up".

Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 10:35
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Hideaki Ueda apparently lost his composure after delegates laughed at his earlier comment [AP]

Japan's human rights envoy to the UN is facing pressure to quit over a video which shows him shouting at delegates, telling them to "shut up".

The video, uploaded to Youtube this week, shows ambassador Hideaki Ueda asking why other members of the UN torture committee in Geneva were laughing, and then tells them to “shut up”.

Japanese lawyer Shinichiro Koike, who said he was at the session, said that a representative from Mauritius had criticised Japan's justice system, which does not allow lawyers to be present during interrogation.

Ueda jumped to his country's defence."Certainly Japan is not in the middle age," he says. "We are one of the most advanced country in this field."

The comment provoked laughter. "Don't laugh! Why you are laughing? Shut up! Shut up!" the ambassador shouted.

"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."

'Queer incident'

The Tokyo Shimbun newspaper labelled it a "queer incident",noting that it came after a series of gaffes by high-profile politicians that have upset other countries.

Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto said last month that wartime sex slavery served a "necessary" role keeping battle-stressed soldiers in line.

Tokyo governor Naoki Inose apologised to Muslims in April after he made a statement viewed as disparaging against Islamic countries.

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