Opposition parties unite in urging Aso to resign over Nazi remarks

The Democratic Party of Japan and four other opposition parties issued a joint statement Wednesday urging Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso to step down or be dismissed over his remarks referring to Nazi Germany in regard to how to revise the Constitution.

Aso, a former prime minister who also doubles as finance minister, "seriously damaged international confidence in Japan with unacceptable language that condoned Nazism and leaves no room for excuses," the statement said, adding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bears responsibility for having appointed him as a Cabinet member.

The five opposition parties, also including Your Party, the Japanese Communist Party, People's Life Party and the Social Democratic Party, have urged the ruling bloc led by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party to make time to discuss the issue at a Diet committee, but the request has been turned down.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said earlier in the day that Aso has no need to quit given that he has already retracted his remarks and expressed regret for them.

"Mr. Aso has corrected (the remarks) and the Abe administration has made clear its stance" that it does not condone what the Nazis did, the top government spokesman told reporters.

Aso's speech last week triggered controversy due to remarks that made reference to Nazi Germany's changing of the Weimar Constitution in discussing revising Japan's supreme law, a goal being pursued by Abe.