Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has appointed Yukio Edano as trade minister, reports say, after the abrupt resignation of the previous incumbent.
Mr Edano gained prominence as the chief government spokesman after the earthquake and tsunami in March.Yoshio Hachiro resigned as trade minister after calling the area around the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant a "town of death".
The trade ministry is also responsible for the energy portfolio.
Mr Hachiro is also reported to have rubbed his jacket against a reporter, saying "I will give you radiation," after visiting the plant on Thursday.Mr Hachiro's comments were widely seen as insensitive and prompted calls by opposition parties for him to resign.
Prime Minister Noda later said they were inappropriate and Mr Hachiro should apologise.
"Sad to say, the centres of cities, towns and villages around it are a town of death without a soul in sight," Mr Hachiro said at a news conference on Thursday.
He later apologised for the remarks and said he had been trying to convey the seriousness of the situation.His departure is viewed as a major embarrassment for Mr Noda, who only took office at the end of August and was due to tackle the recovery effort from the disaster, correspondents say.Mr Noda is Japan's sixth prime minister in five years after his predecessor, Naoto Kan, resigned.It is almost exactly six months since the devastating tsunami and earthquake hit Tokyo and north-eastern Japan, killing some 20,000 people and triggering the nuclear crisis at Fukushima.