Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso sparked outrage on Tuesday after his pro-Nazi remark, even though he later retracted it. China’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that no wrong words or deeds that deviate from the international social ethics and human conscience will be tolerated.
Aso’s comment was interpreted as defending the reasoning behind Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany carrying out the Holocaust during World War II. He later retracted it.
On Aug. 31, Japan’s national daily the Mainichi Shimbun published an editorial titled, “Aso’s Hitler remark can’t be let slide,” saying it is not something Aso can get away with by just retracting his comment because it caused misunderstanding.
The article said it was not the first time Aso made comments in support of Nazi Germany. In 2013, Aso said Japan should learn from Nazi Germany. The comment later sparked an international outcry, with a Jewish human rights group releasing a statement condemning his remarks.
The latest remarks are just proof that he has not learned anything from the 2013 gaffe, the editorial argued, emphasizing that arguments in support of the Nazis can also be seen and heard in Japan.
Japan’s daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun also criticized Aso for his incredible and disturbing thoughtlessness. Since Aso doesn’t do any serious soul-searching over his remarks, he will commit similar gaffes again, the newspaper said.
“In the West, senior government officials would immediately face strong pressure to resign if they make any remark expressing a positive view about the Nazis or Hitler,” it added.
“There is still a group of Japanese politicians clinging to the wrong perception of history,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in response to Aso’s statements at a regular press conference on Aug. 31.
“I have seen relevant reports. We always say that history is the best textbook and it is also a bright mirror. When it comes to historical issues that concern cardinal matters of right and wrong, no wrong words or deeds that deviate from the international social ethics and human conscience will be tolerated,” Hua said.
“We once again urge those forces in Japan to straighten their view on history, genuinely learn lessons from history, and take concrete actions to win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community,” she stressed.
Chinese netizens expressed their outrage toward Aso’s remarks. “A lot of common Japanese people are also victims of Japan’s militarism,” some commented on China’s social media giant Sina Weibo.
“Japan claims itself a democratic country, but what kind of democracy would choose a politician like Aso?” others questioned.
(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)