The Bank of Japan issued a rare apology on Friday over a board member’s praise for Adolf Hitler’s economic policies.
Yutaka Harada, a member of the central bank’s Policy Board, told a seminar on Thursday that Hitler’s economic policies had been “appropriate” and “wonderful” but had enabled the Nazi dictator to do “horrible” things to the world.
“The Bank of Japan views with regret the fact that the remarks of one of its board members have become a source of misunderstanding, and will see to it that such incident will not repeat itself,” the central bank said the same day.
Harada, a member of the bank’s nine-member Policy Board, told the seminar that Western policymakers helped bring Hitler to power by being slow to apply John Maynard Keynes’ proposals to fight the Great Depression.
Hitler became German chancellor in 1933.
Harada said he had only been trying to express the importance of adopting appropriate economic policies at an early stage.
“I had no intention at all to justify Hitler’s economic policies,” the bank quoted Harada as saying.
“Indeed, I have clearly pointed out in my remarks that tragedy did result from the policy steps Hitler had taken. That being said, I want to offer my sincere apologies for any misunderstanding my choice of words may have caused,” he said.
Public figures in Japan, which was part of the Axis powers with Germany and Italy during World War II, sometimes cause controversy by making favorable comments about aspects of the Nazi regime.
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso drew criticism from a U.S.-based Jewish rights group over comments he made in 2013, but later retracted, that were interpreted as praise for Germany’s Nazi regime and Hitler’s rise to power.