The New York Times has wrongly claimed that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in an editorial criticizing the conservative leader amid perceived right-wing shift of Japan politics, a top government spokesman said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government has already lodged a protest with the paper and demanded a correction be published.
The editorial, titled “Mr. Abe’s Dangerous Revisionism,” read that “Abe and other nationalists still claim that the Nanjing massacre by Japanese troops in 1937 never happened.”
At a press conference, Suga said the editorial “contains significant factual errors.”
The prime minister “has never made such remarks,” Suga said, while reiterating Japan “considers it an undeniable fact that the killings of Chinese non-combatants and plundering by Japanese troops did take place after the Japanese army entered Nanjing in 1937.”
“The Abe Cabinet has maintained exactly the same view,” Suga told reporters.
Asked if Abe has ever made such remarks before serving as prime minister, Suga said: “No, I don’t think so.”
The New York Times was not immediately available for comment.
Earlier this month, Naoki Hyakuta, a prominent novelist and governor of Japanese public broadcaster NHK, triggered outrage after claiming the killings never took place.
The Japanese government was quick to come to Hyakuta’s defense, saying his personal view does not necessarily reflect the government’s official stance.
Japan’s shift to the far right has riled neighbors who have long accused the country of having anachronistic view of history in a bid to blot out its war atrocities.
By Maesie Bertumen
Main image: Flickr/ CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies