The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the primary opponent to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which has held power for most of the 53 years since it’s inception, demanded a public apology from Aso Taro, the Secretary General of the LDP.
Monday, August 4th, Aso visited Satsuki Eda, who leads the House of Councillors (the upper house of Japan’s parliament). Satsuki was a member of the DPJ, but as the individuals who lead the two houses of parliament have to resign from their parties, he is not currently a member of the DPJ (although their website still lists him as a member). This was a private meeting between the two men and their aides.
During this meeting, Aso spoke to his concern of the DPJ’s practice of boycotting legislative sessions in protest. Both parties, of course, feel that the opposing party doesn’t take their opinions into account. Worried about the lack of constructive discussion and the authoritative nature of these actions, Aso made the following comments (I wasn’t able to find this copy of the Nishi-Nippon Shinbun, so I haven’t seen the original Japanese. Due to this I am quoting from Ampotan’s translation)
Even the Germans chose to allow the Nazis (to form a government), and look what happened. If you (the DPJ) intend to form a government, you should work seriously to formulate policies. The people are watching.
Satsuki retorted with
I wonder which of us the people are watching.
And that was that. And it should have remained there, behind closed doors. But the DPJ instead came out publicly demanding an apology for the comparison to Nazis.
The Secretary General of the DPJ, Hatoyama Yukio said that “In linking us to the Nazis, this remark could give the impression that if the DPJ assumes power it will embark upon oppressive politics.”
Aside: This reporter thinks that was exactly the impression Aso Taro was trying to give, in a private meeting to try to get his point across. Could it have been made in a more politic way? Absolutely, but political correctness is not something that we have come to expect from Aso Taro, nor would most people expect in in a non-public setting.
In a later meeting with reporters Aso stated “I only said it is important to deliberate matters seriously in the upper house” because he was worried about the methods in which the DPJ had been using to try and block legislation.