Japanese minister Taro Aso refuses to stand down over praise for Nazi militarisation tactics
Aso said Japan could learn from the way the Nazi party stealthily changed Germany's constitution without anyone realising
The Japanese deputy prime minister Taro Aso has refused to resign or even apologise for comments suggesting Japan follow the example of the Nazis in how to build up more powerful armed forces without causing public outcry.
The outspoken politician, who is also the country’s finance minister, made the remarks in a speech at an ultra-conservative conference in Tokyo earlier this week.
In retracting his comments, he said it was “very unfortunate and regrettable” that they were misinterpreted.
The government said the matter should end there, and Mr Aso said: “I have no intention to step down.”
According to a transcript of the speech published by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Aso decried the lack of support for revising Japan's pacifist constitution, wrought after the company occupied large parts of Asia before and during the Second World War.
“I don't want to see this done in the midst of an uproar,” Mr Aso said, according to the transcript. Since revisions of the constitution may raise protests, “doing it quietly, just as in one day the Weimar constitution changed to the Nazi constitution, without anyone realizing it, why don't we learn from that sort of tactic?”
Opposition leaders and representatives from other Asian nations condemned the remarks, and many demanded Mr Aso resign.
The comments “sounded like praise for Nazi actions and are totally incomprehensible,” said Akihiro Ohata, secretary general of the Democratic Party.
In South Korea, foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said Aso's remark “will obviously hurt many people”.
And a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said the comments showed that ”Japan's neighbours in Asia, and the international community, have to heighten their vigilance over the direction of Japan's development.“
Mr Aso reportedly also encouraged people to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in secret to avoid diplomatic flare-ups. The shrine commemorates Japan’s 2.3 million war dead, including 14 wartime leaders convicted of war crimes.
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
US blames Russia after rocket attacks in Ukraine kill at least 30
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: 6 month contract (Initially)A global e...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Railway Museum, the largest of its ...
£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...
£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...