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NHK governor denies Nanjing Massacre ever took place

A governor of Japan's public broadcaster NHK has denied that the Nanjing Massacre in China ever took place. Up to 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were killed by Japanese troops in the city of Nanjing, in the winter of 1937 to 1938.

Naoki Hyakuta made the comments while campaigning for a right-wing candidate in the Tokyo gubernatorial election. Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper quoted him as saying that the massacre "never happened" and was "a fabrication". He also said there was "no need to teach such things to Japanese children".

Hyakuta is one of 12 publicly appointed members of NHK's board of governors. He was hand-picked by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the role late last year. Hyakuta's remarks have fueled doubts about NHK's political neutrality, and have been described by political experts as "highly unusual".

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has refused to condemn the remarks, saying Hyakuta is entitled to express his personal beliefs. The controversial comments come days after NHK's new head, Katsuto Momii, said the Japanese military's use of sex slaves during World War Two was a "common practise" by any country at war. He later apologised for the remarks.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 05Feb14]

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