Japan should not be singled out for criticism of the use of military brothels during World War II, the new chairman of Japan’s influential public broadcaster NHK was quoted as saying in remarks likely to spark widespread anger.
The comments by Katsuto Momii, who has just taken over NHK, are likely to become an additional diplomatic headache for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe is already faced with deteriorating regional ties due largely to territorial issues with China and South Korea, nations that suffered from Japanese aggression before and during the war.
The issue of “comfort women” — as those forced to work in the wartime brothels are known in Japan — is a flashpoint in Tokyo’s relations with Asian nations such as Taiwan and Vietnam, but especially South Korea, since many of the women forced to work in the brothels were Korean.
Asked about the issue at a news conference on Saturday, Momii said such things happened in every nation at war during that time, including France and Germany.
“[The issue of] ‘comfort women’ is bad by today’s morals, but this was a fact of those times,” Momii was quoted as saying by the Asahi Shimbun.
“[South] Korea’s statements that Japan is the only nation that forced this are puzzling. ‘Give us money, compensate us,’ they say, but since all of this was resolved by the Japan-Korea peace treaty, why are they reviving this issue? It’s strange,” he said.
Japan says the matter of compensation was closed under the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea that normalized diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Momii said he was only giving his opinion, but when reporters told him he was speaking as a public figure, Momii then retracted his remarks, the Asahi said.
He also said it was “only natural” for NHK to take the Japanese government’s position in international broadcasts on things such as land disputes with China.
Momii’s comments sparked an angry response within the government, the Asahi said, quoting a Cabinet minister as saying that the remarks were unacceptable and that Momii should resign.
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),