Japan finance minister under fire for Nazi comment

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“I would like to retract the remark.” Aso, who is also deputy prime minister, made the comments about Nazi Germany during a speech Monday in Tokyo organized by an ultra-conservative group. Critics of the ruling Liberal Democrats are uneasy over the party’s proposals for revising the U.S.-inspired postwar constitution, in part to allow a higher profile for Japan’s military. Japan and Nazi Germany were allies in World War II, when Japan occupied much of Asia and Germany much of Europe, where the racial supremacist Nazis oversaw the killings of an estimated 6 million Jews before the war ended in 1945 with their defeat. Japan’s history of military aggression, which included colonizing the Korean Peninsula before the war, is the reason its current constitution limits the role of the military. According to a transcript of the speech published by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Aso decried the lack of support for revising Japan’s pacifist constitution among older Japanese, saying the Liberal Democrats had held quiet, extensive discussions about its proposals.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso is surrounded by reporters at the ministry in Tokyo Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013.

Emerging market countries often use reserves to fend off speculative attacks against its currency, and to provide a cushion against external debt service. The FinMin said that Indias target for this years fiscal deficit was still 4.8%. It is a red line and it will not be breached, he said on a day that economic data out of the country showed the government had run up a fiscal deficit of nearly half the budgeted amount in the first quarter. The fiscal deficit for April-June quarter was 48.4% of the budgeted amount compared with 37.1% in the same period last year, the ET reported Thursday.

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