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Mori's Remarks Again Draw Criticism

June 05, 2000|Associated Press

TOKYO — Just days after apologizing for calling Japan a "divine nation," Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori was criticized again Sunday for using language associated with the country's militaristic past.

During a campaign speech Saturday night, Mori referred to Japan as a kokutai or "national polity"--a now-archaic term used in the decades leading up to World War II to connote a Japanese nation-state ruled by a divine emperor.

Mori, 62, used the word while criticizing the Japanese Communist Party for rejecting the emperor's current constitutional role as a symbol of the state and for opposing Japan's security treaty with the United States.

"Can [such a party] ensure Japan's security and defend the national polity?" he said during a speech.

The remarks made front-page headlines in several newspapers, and opposition politicians condemned Mori on the TV Asahi network Sunday.

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