Japanese officialsn have little to say about a government appointed Japan Broadcasting Corporation executive who said that the Nanking Massacre of 1937-1938 never happened, the South China Morning Post reports.
To get a sense of how Chinese people are responding, just check out the headline on popular blog Shanghaiist — “Some a**hole in Japan just said that Nanjing Massacre ‘never happened.”
Historians debate about what exactly happened during the ‘The Rape of Nanking’ — the six weeks after the Japanese invasion of what was then the Chinese capital. China says 300,000 civilians and soldiers were killed during the incursion. Other historians bring that number down to 42,000, with 20,000 women raped.
So for Naoki Hyakuta, board member of broadcaster NHK, to call the entire story “propaganda” couldn’t be more insulting to the Chinese.
The only thing worse than that would be for the Japanese government to shurg its shoulders at such comments, which is exactly what it did.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters yesterday that Hyakuta, a noted right-wing novelist, was entitled to his opinions.
“I’m aware of the reports, but I’ve learnt [that expressing personal views] doesn’t violate the Broadcast Law. The government declines to comment on the issue,” he said.
China and Japan already have a relationship that has started to seriously worry the international community. Their territorial dispute in the South China Sea, for example, has become a hot button issue discussed by leaders from The World Economic Forum in Davos, to The Yale CEO Summit in New York City last December.
Since the U.S. is a Japanese ally, any conflict between China and Japan could pull in the United States and perhaps the rest of the world.
Insulting statements like Naoki’s denial don’t help calm tensions. At all.