National / History

Lawmaker alleges sex-slave denial censored

NHK told YouTube to delete copyrighted footage

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

The deletion from YouTube of statements by Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) lawmaker Nariaki Nakayama denying the Imperial Japanese Army forced thousands of Asian females to provide sex for soldiers during the war has once again put NHK under the national spotlight.

Under questioning March 8 at the Lower House Budget Committee that was aired by NHK, Nakayama used panels and newspaper cutouts to back his claim that the sexual slavery “was never forced” and that Koreans were never forced to change their names during Japan’s brutal colonial rule.

After the footage appeared online, NHK asked YouTube to delete it, claiming a copyright violation. But the nationalist lawmaker’s incendiary comments are already back online, courtesy of his own office, which uploaded it.

“The fact that NHK (asked) YouTube to delete the footage has caused further debate,” Nakayama, 69, wrote on his website Wednesday. He said the public broadcaster “might have been pressured by someone” to request the video’s deletion, recalling the 2001 censorship scandal involving an NHK documentary in which the verdict of an international mock tribunal that found Emperor Hirohito (known posthumously as Emperor Showa) guilty of crimes against humanity was deleted just before broadcast. At the center of that controversy was Shinzo Abe, then deputy secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party and the current prime minister.

In addition to saying he “cannot tolerate” how China and South Korea continue to ask Japan to “face the historic facts,” Nakayama also criticized the daily Asahi Shimbun’s coverage of the issue for spreading “fabricated” data on issues related to the war.

Details on the sexual slavery and forced name changes “were fabricated by the Asahi and then spread by Nikkyoso,” the largest school and teachers’ union, he wrote. “We need to end this masochistic education as soon as possible.”

On his website, the short-lived 2008 land minister hinted he also stood ready to revisit another of his favorite subjects: the Nanjing Massacre. “I’d like to look into the Nanjing incident if I am given (another) opportunity” to speak in the Diet, he wrote, offering his view that what historians call the Nanjing Massacre was nonexistent and that the Imperial Army was trying to protect the city’s residents.

Nakayama, formerly of the LDP, is known for his controversial posturing.

In an interview with The Japan Times and other media outlets in 2008, the former bureaucrat angered ethnic Ainu after commenting that Japan is “ethnically homogenous.” He also condemned Nikkyoso and called them the cancer of the educational system.

Such remarks forced Nakayama to step down as land minister in September 2008 after only four days in the post. He lost his seat in the 2009 general election but returned to the Diet after joining Nippon Ishin.