Former Japanese Prime Minister Says Global Warming Has Made Rice 'Tastier'

Former Prime Minister Taro Aso says that he believes global warming has improved the quality of rice in Japan.

On Monday, while giving a speech in the Hokkaido city of Otaru for a Liberal Democratic Party candidate, Aso stated that the rice on the island of Hokkaido "has become tastier thanks to (global) warming." Aso also said that the rice "used to be unsalable" but is now tastier and even exported "because of higher temperatures."

Aso continued his remarks by saying that while people associate a warmer climate with negative consequences, there is "something good" that could come from it.

Taro Aso
Former Prime Minister Taro Aso says that he believes global warming has improved the quality of rice in Japan. In the picture above, Aso is speaking during a reception to celebrate the U.K. on October 23, 2019. Getty Images

This isn't the first time the 81-year-old politician has made controversial comments in front of the public eye.

In January 2020, Aso stated that Japan has been ruled under a single language and ethnic identity for the past 2,000 years, which is a comment that ignored other ethnic minorities in the country.

"No country but this one has lasted 2,000 years with one language, one ethnic group and one dynasty," Aso said during a gathering in Fukuoka Prefecture. Shortly afterwards, Aso stated that "If I made a remark that has caused misunderstanding, I have to take care of my way of speaking and correct what I said."

During a seminar in Fukuoka, Japan, Aso issued an apology after stating that childless persons are to blame for Japan's rising social security costs, aging and declining population.

"If it made some people feel uncomfortable, I apologize," Aso stated in a press release. "There are lots of strange people who say the elderly people are to blame, but that is wrong. The problem is those who don't have children."

Finally, in August 2017, Aso made headlines after suggesting that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who killed millions of Jewish people, had the "right motives." Aso's comments were made while providing an example that politicians are remembered for the results they achieve regardless of motivation.

"Hitler, who killed millions of people, is no good even if his motive was right," Aso said, as quoted by the Japanese Kyodo news agency.

Aso then issued a statement regarding his position on Hitler's crimes and his offensive comments.

"It was inappropriate to use Hitler as an example, and I retract that," Aso said, according to Reuters. "That I am very opposed to Hitler is clear from the entirety of my remarks, and it's clear that Hitler's motivations were wrong."

"My comments differ from my feelings, and it's regrettable that they caused misunderstanding," he concluded.

Newsweek has reached out to Aso for further comment.