Japanese public broadcaster NHK has apparently been bombarded with critical comments – as of writing numbering over 1,000 – protesting NHK President Katsuto Momii’s remarks regarding World War II’s infamous “comfort women”. This is apart from the stinging tirade South Korea has put out since Momii’s comments were made at his inaugural press conference on Jan. 25, saying that the issues surrounding “comfort women” – the common term for Asian women who were coerced into sex slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII – existed in all such events involving armed conflict.
Sources said that two days after Momii let lose his controversial speech, NHK has received over 1,000 complaints and protests via telephone and other communication platforms, with the critical messages coming from across Japan. To make matters worse for the already embattled broadcaster, a citizens group called NHK o Kanshi Gekirei Suru Shichosha Community (“Viewers’ community for monitoring NHK”) had filed a complaint demanding for Momii’s resignation over his comments. In the complaint, the community said that, “It is clear that he is not qualified to serve as president and he seriously undermined viewer and public confidence in the network.” The complaint expressly demanded that NHK’s Board of Governors dismiss Momii. According to the same sources, the network also received messages of support for Momii, numbering around 300.
In an attempt to at least lessen the damage of his comments, Momii had publicly apologized for his comments, saying that he regrets the comments he made. Two days after his controversial comments, Momii told reporters that what he said was “extremely inappropriate” and that they were his personal views and does not reflect that of NHK. Erstwhile controversial comfort women commentator Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has also weighed in with his views, unsurprisingly supporting Momii in his comments. Hashimoto said that Momii’s comments were “sound” and that there should be “no problem” over them from the standpoint of political neutrality.
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