Why Is the Japanese Equivalent of the BBC Trying to Re-Write The Country’s WWII History?

NHK is Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, similar to the BBC in Britain.  As a public broadcasting network, it has an obligation to be politically unbiased.

However, in the last two weeks, some of the NHK’s 12 board-members have been making some pretty radical claims.

Naoki Hyakuta (Photo: Japan Free Press)

Naoki Hyakuta (Photo: Japan Free Press)

First is Naoki Hyakuta, who recently said that Japan was,

“Lured into the Second World War by America while liberating Asia from white colonialism.”

He also denied a number of war crimes, most notably the 1937 Nanjing massacre, when Japanese troops sacked the city of Nanjing, killing thousands of Chinese civilians.

One of many graphic pieces of evidence from Nanjing

One of many graphic pieces of evidence from Nanjing

Then there’s the NHK’s new chairman, Katsuo Momii, who shocked reporters at a press conference two weeks ago when he said it was “only natural” to tow the government line on territorial disputes with Japan’s neighbors, saying,

“When the government says left we can’t say right.”

Momii then defended Japan’s system of sex slavery during wartime, saying that systems like this are “commonplace” during war.

Katsuo Momii (photo: The Malaysian Insider)

Katsuo Momii (photo: The Malaysian Insider)

So what explains these sudden outlandish claims from a network that is historically respected for its impartiality?

Naoki Hyakuta and Katsuo Momii are 2 of 4 NHK board-members who were reportedly hand-picked by right-wing President Shinzo Abe.

Recently, an unusually scathing editorial in The Japan Times stated that,

“Momii is perfectly willing to, in effect, turn  NHK into a propaganda mouthpiece of the current administration.”

These drastic claims definitely aren’t helping Japan’s already tense relations with the Chinese, who are highly pissed off (and very justifiably so, I might add) at the denial of the Nanjing massacre.

Read the full story from The Independent here.

Feature image courtesy of the Japan Free Press.


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