WASHINGTON--The U.S. State Department described as "preposterous" remarks by a governor for Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) who alleged the Tokyo war crimes trial was designed to cover up U.S. atrocities during World War II.
The writer Naoki Hyakuta made the comments Feb. 3 when he gave speeches on behalf of Toshio Tamogami, a former Air Self-Defense Force chief of staff running for Tokyo governor. The election will be held Feb. 9.
Hyakuta said the U.S. military committed "cruel massacres" by fire-bombing Tokyo and dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. He went on to say that the Nanking Massacre was brought up in the Tokyo tribunal because the U.S. military wanted to cancel out its own crimes.
He also claimed that the massacre never happened.
The online version of Time magazine first reported the comments by a U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Tokyo in its Feb. 7 edition.
The Asahi Shimbun received the same statement from the U.S. State Department, which said: "These suggestions are preposterous. We hope that people in positions of responsibility in Japan and elsewhere would seek to avoid comments that inflame tensions in the region."
Hyakuta is one of 12 members of the NHK Board of Governors. He and four others were appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and approved by the Diet last November.
Hyakuta's controversial comments came just days after new NHK Chairman Katsuto Momii sparked outrage at home and abroad during his first news conference Jan. 25 by saying all warring nations had systems like Japan’s "comfort women," who provided sex to Japanese troops before and during World War II, criticizing South Korea's demands for compensation. He also defended the contentious state secrets protection law.
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