S. Korean newspaper column calls atomic bombing "divine punishment"

The South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo carried a column dated Monday by an editorial writer describing the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as "divine punishment," drawing protests from the Japanese government.

The column also criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Japanese leaders for their views on history.

The Japanese Embassy in South Korea told the newspaper on Tuesday that publication of the article was regrettable, embassy sources said late Wednesday. The newspaper is said to have told the Embassy that the column does not reflect the views of the company.

In Tokyo on Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed his unhappiness with the column.

"The expressions used in the article were really ridiculous," the top government spokesman told a news conference. As the world's only country having suffered nuclear bombings, Japan "never forgives such views," he said.