NHK Boss Steps Back from Inflammatory Remarks

In Other News - April 15th, 2014

The entangled boss of Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) reneged on his words about issues sensitive to Japan in a bid to stamp out concerns regarding the neutrality of the national broadcaster.

In a prerecorded weekly digest show aired on NHK, president Katsuto Momii apologized for expressing his personal views in public and for failing to foresee the consequences of making these remarks as the head of the state-funded broadcaster.

“Because I was not accustomed to speaking at news conference[s], I failed to separate my position as NHK’s president from my private capacity when talking about disputable issues,” the NHK top boss said.

“It was unsuitable and improper that I offered my personal opinions in public, so I retracted the remarks.”

Momii caused a media storm early in his appointment as NHK president over remarks downplaying the use of wartime sex slaves by the Japanese military. He added he couldn’t understand why Japan was receiving such harsh treatment regarding the issue.

“The comfort women system … existed as a reality at that time,” Momii had said. “Such women could be found in any nation that was at war, including France and Germany.”

He also sparked concerns about his political neutrality after expressing right-wing views and insinuating that he would impose his personal opinions on the public broadcaster.

“NHK is based on the Broadcast Law,” Momii said. “The legislation requires broadcasters to be fair, equitable and nonpartisan. I will never attempt to reflect my personal perspective in programs.”

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: “NHK Broadcasting centre” by Xaf/Flickr