Japan’s deputy prime minister has been forced to apologise after saying that Adolf Hitler had “the right motives.”
Taro Aso sparked outrage both at home and abroad, with the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center saying his remarks were “downright dangerous.”
Aso told a meeting of his faction of the governing Liberal Democratic Party: “I don’t question your motives (to be a politician). But the results are important. Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good, even if his motives were right”
He has now retracted his statement saying he intended to stress importance of achieving results.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a global human rights organization which confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, said Aso’s comments could spoil Japan’s reputation.
“This is just the latest of a troubling list of ‘misstatements’ and [they] are downright dangerous,” the center’s head, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“These words damage Japan’s reputation at the very time when all Americans want to show their solidarity with Japan, our sister democracy and ally, following the missile launch from Kim Jong-un’s North Korea,” he added.
Kazunori Yamanoi, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party’s Diet Affairs Committee, said Aso’s remark was “a serious gaffe.”
The comment “was extremely shameful as one made by a Cabinet minister. I cannot help but question his competence (as a minister),” he added, Kyodo news reported.
On Wednesday, Aso was forced to issue a statement, saying, “I raised an example of a bad politician. It is regrettable that [the comment] was misinterpreted and caused misunderstanding.”
“It is clear that Hitler was wrong in his motive too. I want to retract my comment because it was inappropriate to cite him as an example,” he acknowledged.