As expected, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso has backtracked over recent statements he made, saying what he said led to a misunderstanding and so he is taking back his use of the Nazi government when talking about the proposed amendments to the Japanese Constitution. The Japanese government was also quick to distance itself from the statements of Aso, who has made sarcastic and controversial statements that have gotten him into trouble before.
“It is clear from all my remarks that I have an extremely negative view of the events involving the Nazis and the Weimar constitution,” Aso remarked. But he was still apologetic that he even had to mention the Nazis when talking about constitutional changes. He was quoted earlier this week as saying that Japan should learn from the tactics of the German government when they quietly changed their Weimar constitution to the Nazi German constitution. His recent statement is an apology for causing this misunderstanding, clarifying that what he was trying say was to have discussions about amending the constitution in a “calm environment”, but admitting that the Nazi example was a bad comparison.
He has faced a barrage of criticism from different governments and organizations for using that example, with South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young saying his remarks “obviously hurt many people”. U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, said that the only lesson people should learn from the Nazis is “how those in positions of power should not behave.” They have also asked Aso to clarify his remarks. Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga clarified that the government would not in any way look at the Nazi government in a positive light. But he also acknowledged Aso’s apology and retraction of the statement, saying this is a matter he would have to personally respond to.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]