An official at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo criticized Saturday a recent remark by a member of NHK’s decision-making body questioning the military tribunal held after the end of World War II, calling it “preposterous.”
“We hope that people in positions of responsibility in Japan and elsewhere would seek to avoid comments that inflame tensions in the region,” the embassy press officer told Kyodo News, adding the view is the consensus of the U.S. government. The official’s comment comes at a time when Japan-U.S. relations have been strained after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a surprise visit to war-related Yasukuni Shrine in late December, ignoring a U.S. request not to do so.
Naoki Hyakuta, one of the 12 NHK governors, said in a campaign speech on Feb. 3 for Tokyo gubernatorial election candidate Toshio Tamogami, a former chief of the Air Self-Defense Force, that the International Military Tribunal for the Far East held after the end of the war was carried out to hide the “genocide” of the Allied air raids on Tokyo as well as the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The so-called Tokyo Trials heard the cases of Japanese leaders indicted for war crimes, including Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo, and handed down judgments on them. Hyakuta, who is a novelist, also said the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China by Imperial Japanese troops never happened.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday also criticized Hyakuta’s remark on the Nanjing Massacre, saying, “The Nanjing Massacre was a brutal crime committed by the Japanese militarists during their invasion.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday Hyakuta’s speech was “done personally and the government refrains from comment.”