Even as criticism followed Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso after his remark which cited Nazi Germany as an example for Japan’s revision of its post war Constitution, he says that he will not be stepping down as a Cabinet member or a lawmaker. Some members of the political opposition had called for his resignation, but Aso said that he had “no intention to resign”, this he said at a press conference a day after he retracted his comment.
It is not strange for the deputy prime minister to be in a situation like this, as the outspoken former prime minister has been in the spotlight before for controversial comments. This time, Aso is under fire because of a speech Monday in Tokyo where he said, “Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed before anyone knew. It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn from that method?” The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan has made it publicly known that it will ask for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to take responsibility, as he appointed Aso as a Cabinet member. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a separate press conference that Aso’s remark was clearly “misunderstood”.
Aso said that he believes it should be easily understood that there was no intention from him to justify the Nazi regime in any way with his comment. He added that it is quite “regrettable” that the comment has been misunderstood, but also adding that he will not apologize for the remark. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization based in California, criticized Aso’s comment at length earlier this week. “What ‘techniques’ from the Nazis’ governance are worth learning — how to stealthily cripple democracy?” it asked in a statement.
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