Months after his controversial remarks earned the ire of the public and requests for his resignation, Japan Broadcasting Corp.’s (NHK) president apologized on national television. Speaking on the weekly digest program called Totteoki Sunday, Katsuo Momii expressed regret for his previous comments on the issue of “comfort women.”
In a nation where the public is divided on its view of its wartime history, many did not take kindly to Momii’s statement during his inaugural press conference that “the issue of comfort women could be found in all nations that were at war.” His political neutrality was further questioned when he added, “It would not do for us to say ‘left’ when the government is saying ‘right.’” However, Momii explained during his prerecorded apology that his comments were of a personal opinion. “Because I was not accustomed to speaking at a news conference, I failed to separate my position as NHK’s president from my private capacity when talking about disputable issues.” He assured the public that his personal views would not be forced upon the programming of the station as he cited the Broadcast Law. “I was asked many questions about the comments and my qualifications at Diet sessions, which has made viewers greatly concerned,” he said. ‘I reflect on having caused such a situation, and deeply apologize,” said Momii.
While he apologized for his previous statements, Momii did not touch on the subject of allegedly asking his 10 managing directors to submit undated resignation letters, which was brought up in one of his sessions with the Diet. He also did not mention the fact that the broadcasting firm’s 2014 draft budget has not been fully approved by the Diet, as the Democratic Party of Japan and the Restoration Party rejected it.