August 2, 2013
Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on August 1 held a press conference in the Diet building and issued a statement denouncing Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro's positive remarks on Nazism.
The full text of his statement is as follows:
Deputy Prime Minister Aso on July 29 at a gathering held in Tokyo said, "One day, before anyone realized, the Weimar constitution had changed to the Nazi constitution. Why don't we learn from their tactics? Everyone (in Germany) understood the (Weimar) constitution was good but it was changed without a bunch of boohooing."
It is totally abhorrent that he makes remarks favorable to Nazism. His qualification as a Japanese politician, let alone as a Cabinet minister, should be called into question.
In the first place, the advent of the Nazi dictatorship and the cessation of the Weimar constitution in Germany did not occur "without being noticed".
In January 1933, Hitler assumed power as the president. Immediately after taking office, he ordered an arson attack on the parliament building. With this as pretext, he outlawed the communist party, workers' unions, and the social democratic party. He eventually forbade the formation of political parties and installed a single-party dictatorship. In this process, Hitler enacted the so-called Enabling Act to disable all functions of the Weimar constitution.
In doing so, the Nazi dictatorship brought the effective use of the Weimar constitution to a standstill. Contrary to "before anyone noticed it" as Aso suggests, that was done amid a storm of outrageous acts of violence and crackdowns. Suggesting that Japan should learn from such "tactics" is nothing but an irresponsible argument supporting the authoritative nature of Nazism and denying democracy.
Under increasing criticism from home and abroad, Aso made an excuse, saying, "I cited (the constitutional change in Germany) as a negative example without adequate public understanding and discussions," and released a statement which says, "I retract my remarks citing the Nazis as an example to follow."
However, his remarks were suggesting that Japan "learn from the tactics used", not citing it as "a negative example". His excuse is absolutely illogical.
The post-war world order came about with the common ground of condemning fascism in Japan, Germany and Italy and their wars of aggression. I emphasize that any person who denies this has no qualification to participate in politics whether at the national level or the international level.
Q: Will the JCP demand Aso to resign from his post?
Shii: We will handle this issue from the standpoint that Aso has no qualification as politician as stated in the last part of our statement.
Q: As the extraordinary Diet session will be convened tomorrow, how will the JCP deal with the issue in the Diet?
Shii: The term of this extraordinary session is very short, so it is necessary to find the most appropriate ways to deal with the issue. We will have thorough discussions not only within the party but also with other political parties, for example, by conducting deliberations on this issue during meetings of both chambers' budget committees.
Q: In support of Aso's remarks, Japan Restoration Party co-leader Hashimoto Toru described Aso's remarks as "black humor" and defended Aso by saying that those who have a basic reading ability can understand that Aso did not actually justify the actions of the Nazis. How do you respond to this?
Shii: For people having an average reading ability, it is obvious that Aso's remarks clearly supported Nazism. No matter how many times he insists that he disagrees with Nazism based on his personal principles, his remarks have been interpreted as accepting Nazism.
Q: What do you think lies in the background of Aso's remarks?
Shii: The Abe Cabinet's basic stance toward foreign policies is the point in question.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo says he is pursuing a "value-based diplomacy". However, if talking about values in international politics, Abe should share the common assumption, irrespective of differences in country systems, that the wars of aggression and fascism in Japan, Germany, and Italy were unjust and should never be repeated. The United Nations was created based on this recognition.
The Abe Cabinet has a big problem in this regard. The prime minster himself has shown his intention to revise the statement issued in 1995 by the then PM Murayama which expressed remorse and apology for Japan's aggressive wars. Abe has never said that he will adhere to the wording that the wartime aggression and colonial rule were wrong. I asked him in a one-on-one debate if he would accept the 1995 statement and he did not say "yes". Thus, deep in his mind, he wants to somehow justify Japan's past war of aggression.
While calling for a "value-based diplomacy", Abe's "values" are totally different from ones shared in the international community. I think Aso's remark reveals the essence of the bizarre "values" that underlies the Abe Cabinet.
Q: Aso's remarks have provoked criticism from home and abroad. What kind of impact will his remarks have on the world?
Shii: It will be huge. As I mentioned before, countries in the world, including the U.S., all oppose fascism and the invasions by Japan, Germany, and Italy. It is a universally accepted denouncement by all countries, regardless of differences in political regimes.
Conflicting with this view, Aso's remarks inevitably aroused widespread disapproval. It is only natural that he attracted condemnation from a variety of people worldwide.