A small group of protesters – around 40 in all – paraded through Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district on Sunday to push for the restoration of the “Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere,” the main idea that fuelled Japan’s military conquest in the 1940s. The group, known as the Gokoku Shishi no Kai (“Group of Warriors Protecting the Nation”), marched down the streets of Tokyo carrying the highly controversial “rising sun” flag, and openly waving the Nazi flag – an act that is punishable by law in Germany.
The small group assembled in a park in East Ikebukuro, the location of the execution of former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other “Class A” World War II criminals in December 1948. “To keep the achievements of our illustrious predecessors from going to waste, we advocate the restoration of the Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere, minus participation by China and the two Koreas,” one of the organizers told the assembled demonstrators. They also picked the specific date coinciding with the 125th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birthday, because according to one of the organizers, “The empires of Japan and Nazi Germany have been portrayed as villains, and in Germany glorifying the Nazis will get a person jailed. We would like to re-investigate the 1993 Kono Statement and Nazi Germany as well, to rehabilitate their good acts and restore their honor.”
Funny thing about it was, when asked about the “good acts” of Nazi Germany, the organizer could only name one thing – the creation of the autobahn. There was also a smaller group of counter-protesters, going against what the group was chanting about – the two groups taunted each other, but the police were there to make sure no trouble broke out. The police had actually requested that the group delay the protest due to U.S. President Obama’s visit to Tokyo. “But I told them that it can only be this day (Hitler’s birthday), and kept pushing for a permit,” the group leader said.
[via Japan Today]