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Japan's NHK is right-leaning

Updated: 2014-01-28 07:35
( China Daily)

Spats between Japan and its Asian neighbors over its imperialist history escalated again after the new chairman of NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, claimed that the Japanese imperial army's "comfort women" brothel system was "common" worldwide during World War II.

Such a twisted reading of history will only further damage Japan's image in the region and on the world stage, says Xinhua News Agency.

Katsuto Momii, widely denounced for his reckless talking in the past couple of days, expressed regret on Monday and admitted that his comments were "extremely inappropriate", but he refused to resign as many have demanded.

Regretful as he might be, the damage has been done. His inflammatory words have triggered a new round of fury in the already volatile region. Such remarks, made by the leader of Japan's biggest broadcaster, reflect the overall right-leaning trend among the country's political and media elite.

It is a proven fact that Japan forcibly recruited tens of thousands of women of its Asian neighbors to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II. Rightist Japanese politicians' efforts to whitewash the country's wartime crimes are jeopardizing regional peace and stability.

Japanese policymakers should be held accountable for the deterioration of relations between Japan and its Asian neighbors, as they constantly make provocative remarks in their attempt to pander to the escalated right-leaning forces in their own country.

It is understandable that Japan's neighbors are now keeping a vigilant eye on the country as it has consistently shown a lack of remorse for its brutal past.

From a broader view, the twisted readings of history expressed by Momii and Japanese politicians are not only an insult to those women forced to be sex slaves, they also express the general grievance of the Japanese elite at what they perceive as their country's lost glory and the post-war confinement of its military and political muscle.

For now, Momii's remarks are surely taking a toll on NHK's reputation and Japan's national image. In the long run, if Japan wants to be accepted as a responsible member of the regional and global community, it has no choice but to face up to history and sincerely apologize for its wartime wrongdoings.