North Korea derided Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an “Asian Hitler” in a diatribe against what it perceives as the premier’s hunger for military power.
The official Korean Central News Agency said Abe was fueling fears of North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats in order to justify Japan’s military expansion. A commentary by Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party’s mouthpiece, described Abe as a “militarist maniac,” keen on amassing military power under the guise of ensuring regional stability.
In the KCNA editorial, entitled “Is this the emergence of an Asian Hitler?”, Abe is described as “trying to shift the focus of international criticisms from Japan to somewhere else.”
“There is no difference between the fascist maniac Hitler, who waged battle against communists to justify another war, and the reckless Abe who is using confrontation with North Korea to justify Japan’s new militarist ambition.”
Abe is keen on shifting away from its pacifist post-World War II constitution and expand Japan’s military role amid a changing security environment. But Japan’s neighbors see the move as a painful reminder of Japanese imperialism.
The premier’s recent visit to the Yasukuni war shrine also triggered outcry from South Korea and China. North Korea said this represents Japan’s failure to atone for its occupation of the Korean peninsula.
“The latest reckless behavior that has stirred the region is reminiscent of Hitler, who worked so hard to encourage war in post-World War I Germany,” KCNA said.
The newspaper called on Abe to “wake up” from his “militarist fever.”
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: APEC 2013/Flickr