Japanese deputy PM retracts Nazi comment

Aug. 1, 2013 at 9:38 AM
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TOKYO, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said Thursday that he retracts his comment that Japan can learn from the way Nazis changed Germany's constitution.

His statements come after he received criticism at home and abroad, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

"It is regrettable that [my statement] has caused misunderstanding of my real intentions," Aso said in a statement.

His initial comments were made Monday .

"One day, [the Germans] found that the Weimar Constitution was changed to the Nazi Constitution," Aso said. "It was changed without being noticed by anyone. Why don't we learn from that technique?"

Groups around the world, such as The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, sharply criticized Aso.

Foreign ministers in South Korea and China also objected to the comment.

Thursday, Aso attempted to retract and revise his comments.

"I believe it is extremely important to calmly discuss constitutional revisions," Aso said. "To make that point clear, I cited [the German case] as a bad example of proceeding with [revisions] in a noisy environment without sufficient national understanding and debate."

Aso is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-hand man. Abe has persistently called for revisions to Japan's constitution.

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