Japan’s air force chief has been sacked over an essay in which he claimed his country had not been an agressor in Asian conflicts.
In his article, which appeared on a website, General Toshio Tamogami also said Japan had no option but to go to war with the US.
Defence Minister Yasuka Hamada quickly distanced the government from the remarks, saying they were at odds with its position: “I think it’s improper for the air force chief of staff to publicly state a view clearly different from that of the government’s. Therefore, it’s inappropriate for him to remain in his position,” he said.
The government hopes its swift action in firing the General will limit any damage done to relations with neighbours like China and South Korea.
In 1995 and 2005 Japan expressed remorse for its war-time actions. But many right-wing politicians and some scholars share Tamogami’s views.