Ja­panese of­fi­cial re­tracts re­mark about Hitler’s in­ten­tions

Miami Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

TOKYO — Ja­pan’s deputy prime min­is­ter on Wed­nes­day re­tracted a com­ment made a day ear­lier that seemed to sug­gest that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had good in­ten­tions.

Taro Aso was speak­ing at a sem­i­nar for his fac­tion in the rul­ing Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party on Tuesday when he said: “I don’t ques­tion a politi­cian’s mo­tives; it is de­liv­er­ing results that mat­ter. Hitler, who killed mil­lions of peo­ple, was no good, even if his in­ten­tions had been good.”

Aso said that re­mark was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” and he would like to re­tract it and re­gret­ted hav­ing caused a mis­un­der­stand­ing. He said he meant that Hitler was a bad leader with bad in­ten­tions.

The Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter, a U.S.-based Jewish hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tion, de­nounced the com­ment as “down­right dan­ger­ous.” An of­fi­cial at the cen­ter, Rabbi Abra­ham Cooper, said, “When will the elite of Ja­pan wake up and ac­knowl­edge that they have a ‘Nazi prob­lem’?”

Aso is also the fi­nance min­is­ter in Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s Cabi­net and served as Ja­pan’s prime min­is­ter in 2008-2009.

Ja­pan’s chief cabi­net sec­re­tary, Yoshi­hide Suga, said af­ter Aso re­tracted his state­ment that the deputy prime min­is­ter “should make his own ex­pla­na­tion when the time comes.”

Aso in 2008 was crit­i­cized for com­par­ing the tac­tics of the Demo­cratic Party of Ja­pan to those of Nazis in 1930s Germany. And in 2013 he with­drew a com­ment that seemed to sug­gest Ja­panese lead­ers should fol­low Nazi Germany’s ex­am­ple in chang­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.

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