Japanese Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso has drawn criticism from Jewish groups for seemingly praising Hitler.
Aso said that “Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good even if his motive was right” when addressing a faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center voiced its “distress and disappointment” at the comments.
Aso has previously hinted at an admiration for Nazism, saying in 2013 that proposed constitutional reform in Japan should use Nazi Germany as an example.
Aso retracted his latest comments, saying “it is clear from my overall remarks that I regard Hitler in extremely negative terms, and it’s clear that his motives were also wrong”, claiming that he only wished to highlight how it is important that politicians “get things done”. Nonetheless, the flippant use of Nazism as an example, and his history, will make such an apology look rather half-hearted.
Earlier this week Katsuya Takasu, a celebrity and plastic surgeon, appears to have praised the Nazis for advances in medicine and science, appearing to deny the Holocaust by stating “there is no doubt that the Jews were persecuted. But we only know it from hearsay and all of it is based on information from the Allies”. He also spoke of “how great” Nazism was.