Fired General Likens Japan’s Government to Repressive North Korean Regime

Japan’s sacked air force commander compared his country to North Korea for a row over his assertion that Tokyo was not a World War II aggressor, prompting the government Tuesday to promise an inquiry.

As the government sought to reassure other Asian countries that it did not agree with his comments, Toshio Tamogami went on the offensive insisting he was right and had thought it was time for such views to be accepted.

“If you are not allowed to say even a word that counters the government’s statements, you cannot possibly call the country democratic,” the ex-general told a press conference.

“It’s just like North Korea.”

by Harumi Ozawa, AFP

Tamogami was fired from his post for an essay in which he wrote that Japan was falsely accused of being the aggressor and calling for the nation to shed elements of its post-WWII pacifism.

Japan's sacked air force commander General Toshio Tamogami, ... 

ABOVE: Japan’s sacked air force commander General Toshio Tamogami, seen here, compared his country to North Korea for a row over his assertion that Tokyo was not a World War II aggressor, prompting the government Tuesday to promise an inquiry.(AFP/HO/File/Jiji Press)

He retired Monday two years early rather than serve in a lesser position.

Tamogami said many Asian countries “take a positive view” of Japan’s past military actions, seeing Tokyo as a bulwark against Western imperialism.

The scandal comes at a bad time for Prime Minister Taro Aso, who criticised Tamogami’s remarks but has himself previously caused controversy by defending aspects of Japanese colonialism.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper Tuesday released a survey showing that, for the first time since Aso took office in September, more people disapproved of his government’s performance than approved of it.

His government’s approval rating stood at 40.5 percent.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081104/
wl_asia_afp/japanwwiihistorymilitary_081104123022

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