The newly-appointed head of Japanese state broadcaster NHK has provoked immediate calls for his resignation with divisive remarks on history that toe the nationalist government line.
Questioned by reporters at a press conference about imperial Japan forcing women to serve as sex slaves for its troops during World War II, Katsuto Momii said such women "could be found in any nation that was at war."
He claimed that sex slaves existed in France and Germany in wartime and countered with the rhetorical question why the Netherlands still has brothels, in effect suggesting that there is no difference between wartime sex slaves and modern-day prostitutes.
"Matters have become much more complicated because [Korea] seems to be saying that only Japan forcibly transported such women," he said.
Momii also pledged to harness NHK to the cause of publicizing Japan's flimsy colonial claim to Korea’s Dokdo islets, a favorite obsession with the rightwing government.
Asked about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial visit to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring war criminals among Japan's fallen, Momii ventured that Abe acted "based on his beliefs." He added, "I am not in a position to say whether it was right or wrong."