Public broadcaster NHK’s new chairman has caused quite a stir with controversial comments during his first news conference for the broadcasting firm. His remarks on the issue of “comfort women”, or those who were forced into sexual slavery for the Imperial Army during World War Two, as well as territorial disputes and the newly-passed state secrecy law have gotten mixed reactions.
Katsuto Momii was previously connected with Mistui & Co. as vice president of the trading house and had no previous broadcasting experience. At the first news conference of his three-year appointment as chairman of NHK, Momii expressed “puzzlement” over the international criticism and anger with regards to “comfort women” during the Second World War. He said “such women could be found in any nation that was at war, including France and Germany.” He also commented on the issue of territorial disputes between their country and China saying that it “would not do for NHK to say left when the government says right.” Momii also dismissed worry on the press’ freedom of speech with regards to the newly passed state secrecy law as he believes that the objective of the law is not to prevent any news blackout on “special secrets” deemed by the state.
While Momii’s appointment was said to be handpicked by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself, BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was shocked to see him making remarks that are considered to be very political in nature, and at his very first news conference at that. Momii, however, noted that his statements are his own personal view and not that of the broadcasting company, which being publicly funded, must remain neutral in all its political reports.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan