A lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called U.S. President Barack Obama a descendant of black slaves at a Diet meeting on Wednesday.

Kazuya Maruyama speaks to reporters Wednesday at the Diet after he referred to U.S. President Barack Obama as a descendant of a black slave. | KYODO

“In the United States, a black man has become its president. I mean, he is in a bloodline of black people, who were slaves,” Kazuya Maruyama said during a session of Upper House Commission on the Constitution.

“People in the country’s founding era would have never thought that a black slave would become president,” Maruyama said.

Later in the day, he held a news conference to apologize for making what many took as racist remarks.

Also at the meeting of the Upper House constitutional panel, Maruyama asked, “What kind of problems with the Constitution could arise if, for instance, Japan becomes the United States’ 51st state?

“As the allocation of House of Representatives seats to each state depends on its population in the United States, ‘Japan State’ would probably hold the largest share in the House,” Maruyama said. “If so, someone from Japan State might become the U.S. president.”

It was then that he made the “slave” remarks.

At the news conference, Maruyama said, “I think I made remarks that I did not intend.”

He expressed his willingness to delete or revise his remarks after scrutinizing the meetings’ minutes.