An economic adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Etsuro Honda, contradicted the report by The Wall Street Journal quoting him as saying that one of the goals of “Abenomics” is for the nation to be able to build a military that will rival and beat its Asian neighbor, China.
The article by WSJ quoted Honda as saying that one of the reasons behind Japan’s drive for a better economy, through Abenomics, is to counter China, which he “feels is a serious threat.” Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Honda’s was surprised after reading the published article, saying “It’s true I was interviewed, but what I meant to say was erroneously reported. I never made a remark to the effect that a goal of Abenomics was military in nature.” The paper also reported Honda to have justified Abe’s controversial war shrine visit in December by saying, “As long as a top Japanese leader refrains from visiting Yasukuni, Japan’s position in international society is very inferior. We don’t want to see a handicapped Japan, we want to see Japan as a stand-alone country.” The same article described Honda as an “ardent nationalist who gets emotional about his country’s wartime past,” describing how Honda became teary-eyed during the interview.
Honda denied having said those things and maintained that his words during the interview were misconstrued. Speaking to reporters, he said that he was pointing out that “Japan needs to strengthen basic economic power to maintain the power balance in East Asia” and was in no way saying that his nation must strengthen its military to counter China. When pressed for a comment on Honda’s denials, a WSJ spokesperson sent an email, stating, “We stand by our story. Given it contains no errors, we see no reason to correct it and have made no commitment to do so.”
[via Japan Times]