Controversial Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto says he will give no more interviews to the Asahi Shimbun, its affiliated publications, or Asahi Broadcasting Corp, after a magazine published a critical article about his ancestry.
Hashimoto, who heads the new Japan Restoration Party, has been in the news all year for one thing or another. He said public servants do not have rights; he once forced all Osaka city employees to declare whether or not they had tattoos and to resign if they did, and riled South Korea by disputing the so-called comfort women issue, among others.
The latest trouble came in an article by Shukan Asahi this month, calling his tattoo decree a "terrible throwback to a caste system mentality." The story also mentioned Hashimoto's father, referring to him as a "burakumin" with yakuza connections. Furthermore, the story made comparisons between Hashimoto and German dictator Adolf Hitler's rise to power.
Speaking at a news conference, Hashimoto said it was extremely offensive to compare him to the Nazis and he blasted the magazine for insulting his relatives, Sports Nippon reported. "As a public figure, I might be fair game, but to dig up my family's past is going over the line. It will have an effect on my children and grandchildren."
He demanded an explanation of the "thinking" behind the article and went on to state that he would no longer answer questions fielded by reporters from Asahi Shimbun, its affiliated publications or Asahi Broadcasting Corporation.
Shukan Asahi issued a statement late Thursday, apologizing for comments about Hashimoto's father. A Shukan Asahi spokesperson commented, "The article was aimed at painting a picture of a rising political figure. The Asahi Shimbun and Asahi Broadcasting are different companies. The Asahi is willing to take responsibility for the article published in Shukan Asahi."© Japan Today