Fired: Air Force Chief Said Japan Was Not an Aggressor in WWII

The head of the Japanese air force is to be sacked after saying the country was not an aggressor in World War II, Japan’s defence minister said.

Yasukazu Hamada said Gen Toshio Tamogami’s views, written in an essay, ran counter to the government’s position on the war.

“Therefore it is inappropriate for him to remain in this position and I will swiftly dismiss him,” he said.

From the BBC

Gen Toshio Tamogami - Pic Australian Defence Department
Gen Toshio Tamogami’s essay was published on a website

The general’s views are likely to anger many of Japan’s neighbours.

China, North and South Korea and other Asian nations still have traumatic memories of Japan’s aggression and colonial rule.

Japan expressed remorse for its wartime actions in 1995, and then gave another apology 10 years later.

Acting swiftly

Mr Hamada said that by acting swiftly against the general, the Japanese government was making it clear that it did not share his views which, he said, could stir controversy in Asian nations.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7702374.stm
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From the New York Times
By Norimitsu Onishi  

A high-ranking Japanese military official was dismissed Friday for writing an essay stating that the United States had ensnared Japan into World War II, denying that Japan had waged wars of aggression in Asia and justifying Japanese colonialism.

The Defense Ministry fired Gen. Toshio Tamogami, chief of staff of Japan’s air force, late on Friday night, only hours after his essay was posted on a private company’s Web site. The quick dismissal seemed intended to head off criticism from China, South Korea and other Asian nations that have reacted angrily to previous Japanese denials of its militarist past.

The Defense Minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said the essay included an “inappropriate” assessment of the war, adding, “It was improper for a person in his capacity as air force chief of staff to publicly state a view clearly different from the government’s.”

In the essay, General Tamogami, 60, elaborated a rightist view of Japan’s wartime history shared by many nationalist politicians. But it was a rare formulation from inside Japan’s military, which, as Japan has been shedding its postwar pacifism in recent years, has gained a more prominent role.

Japan’s military — whose operations are restricted by the nation’s war-renouncing Constitution — should be allowed to possess “offensive weaponry” and widen its defense activities with allies, the general also wrote.

The article was posted on the Web site of a real estate developer called Apa Group after taking the $30,000 first prize in an essay-writing contest sponsored by the company.

General Tamogami wrote that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and thereby drew the United States into World War II after being caught in “a trap” set by President Roosevelt.

“Roosevelt had become president on his public pledge not to go to war, so in order to start a war between the United States and Japan, it had to appear that Japan took the first shot,” he wrote.

He denied that Japan had invaded China and the Korean Peninsula, arguing that Japanese forces became embroiled in domestic conflicts on the Asian continent.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/01/world/asia/01tokyo.html?em

Related:
China condemns sacked Japan general’s war comments

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