TOKYO (AP) _ A Japanese lawmaker is being criticized for saying President Barack Obama was a descendant of black slaves and therefore would have been an unthinkable choice in America’s early history.

Kazuya Maruyama, a lawyer-turned-lawmaker in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party, apologized hours after making the remark at a parliamentary constitutional panel, saying it was misleading.

Maruyama said Wednesday: “Today, America has a black person as President. A person who inherits black people’s blood. Frankly speaking, they were slaves.”

He said it would have been unthinkable in early American history and that’s how dynamic American can transform.

Opposition lawmakers Thursday demanded Maruyama resign over the comment deemed insulting to Obama and possibly hurting Japan-U.S. ties.

The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment.

 

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