The Japanese public broadcasting firm NHK is under fire again as another senior manager sparked controversy over his comments denying any massacre from happening in the Nanjing province of China in 1930s. Naoki Hyakuta, member of the 12-man management committee for programming policy and budget-setting, denied reports of rape and murder by Japanese troops in China during 1937-38, shrugging it off as “propaganda.”
While giving a speech for a candidate running in the Tokyo gubernatorial elections, Hyakuta said, “Countries in the world ignored the propaganda produced (by then Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek)… that Japan’s troops carried out a massacre in Nanjing. Why? There was no such thing.” Further saying, “During the war there probably were atrocities committed by some members of the military, but that is not limited to the Japanese. There is no reason to teach these things to children in compulsory education.” The thorny issue of the “Rape of Nanking” has hindered China and Japan from developing amicable ties. China maintains that around 300,000 soldiers and civilians were killed during that time, while Japan is among those that claim that the number is grossly exaggerated. China historian Jonathan Spence estimates only around 42,000 soldiers and civilians perished, while 20,000 women were raped.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga justified the right-wing novelist’s statements, saying that he is entitled to his opinions. Speaking to the press, he said that he is aware of the reports “but has learnt (expressing personal views) doesn’t violate the Broadcast Law.” Fears of the broadcasting firm molding into PM Abe’s nationalist policy are starting to circulate with Hyakuta’s comments following new chief Katsuto Momii’s statements last month about the use of “comfort women,” or sexual slaves, being a normal practice during wartime, with many other nations doing the same.
[via Channel News Asia]