The governor of Shizuoka Prefecture said Tuesday he will resign amid backlash over a gaffe saying civil servants being inducted into the prefectural government were intelligent people, "unlike those who sell vegetables."

Gov. Heita Kawakatsu told reporters he intends "to step down following the June prefectural assembly" after making the remarks during a roughly 20-minute address to the new employees the previous day.

Gov. Heita Kawakatsu speaks to reporters at the prefectural government building in Shizuoka, the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture, on April 2, 2024. (Kyodo)

Kawakatsu had said during the address that "everyone here is a brainy and intelligent person, unlike those who sell vegetables, take care of cows or create things."

He also told the incoming civil servants to remain honest, watch their language, and that it was "important to be compassionate and stick to your beliefs."

Kawakatsu has earned a reputation for gaffes since he first became governor in 2009. In 2021, the assembly advised him to resign after he said the central Japan prefecture's city of Gotemba "only has koshihikari," or a type of rice, as its local specialty.

Last month, He was criticized for ranking regions within his prefecture based on how "cultured" they are.



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