Minoru Yanagida jokingly checks to see if his fly is truly open.
Japanese Justice Minister Minoru Yanagida has resigned from his post just two months after taking office. Yanagida disgraced himself and his party eight days ago by telling an unfunny joke. While his self-inflicted punishment might be seen as extreme, Japan has long had a tradition of leaving the job of dispensing humor to the experts.
Speaking to his constituency in Hiroshima, Yanagida claimed that the job of Justice Minister "is easy because I only ever have to remember two phrases, which I can use whenever I am stuck for an answer to a question in parliament." Being a curious people, his constituency shouted out the traditional response - "What two phrases are they?"
"Okay, okay, the top two things a Justice Minister says... Number two, I refrain from making comments on a specific issue," replied Yanagida, presumably in a goofy accent. "And the number one thing a Justice Minister says is... We are dealing with the matter based on laws and evidence. Bada bing!"
The constituency responded with stony silence. Crickets chirped. People slowly began to drift away. Having committed humor hari kari, Minoru Yanagida was officially in disgrace, and there were no options left but resignation.
Yoshito Sengoku, the man who will temporarily replace Yanagida's, called the resignation "regrettable but unavoidable."
"Minoru Yanagida is no comedian," explained Sengoku, "And he was foolishly risky to attempt such biting satire. As Parliament transcripts clearly show, Yanagida has indeed already used these phrases at least thirty-three times, so the humor was just a little bit too edgy for someone who is not a trained professional."
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