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Issue #1605      August 7, 2013

Deputy PM: Let’s change laws like the Nazis did

Japanese Deputy PM Taro Aso back-pedalled furiously last week as he denied that he was inspired by Nazi governance.

Mr Aso caused a furore by saying that Japan should learn from how the Nazi Party stealthily dismantled the Weimar constitution before the Second World War.

“It is very unfortunate and regrettable that my comment regarding the Nazi regime was misinterpreted,” he told reporters. “I would like to retract the remark about the Nazi regime.”

He insisted the comments – made during a speech to an ultra-conservative group – were only meant to say that loud debate on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to make the constitution more bellicose was unhelpful.

“I don’t want to see this done in the midst of an uproar,” newspaper Asahi Shimbun quoted him as saying. “Just as in one day the Weimar constitution changed to the Nazi constitution, without anyone realising it, why don’t we learn from that sort of tactic?”

The opposition condemned his statement.

“Minister Aso’s ignorance about historical facts is so obvious,” said Social Democratic Party secretary general Seiji Mataichi. “I also want to remind him that praising the Nazis is considered a crime in EU nations.”

And the Simon Wiesenthal Centre – a group committed to commemorating the Holocaust – also slated the minister.

“What ‘techniques’ from Nazi governance are worth learning? How to stealthily cripple democracy?” asked centre associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper.

“Has Aso forgotten that Nazi Germany’s ascendancy to power quickly brought the world to the abyss and engulfed humanity in the untold horrors of World War II?”

Morning Star  

Next article – A dangerous game to play

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