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WIESENTHAL CENTER DENOUNCES JAPANESE TV NEWS PERSONALITY FOR BLAMING POLITICAL SCANDALS ON AMERICA AND THE JEWS

March 9, 2009

WIESENTHAL CENTER DENOUNCES JAPANESE TV NEWS PERSONALITY FOR BLAMING POLITICAL SCANDALS ON AMERICA AND THE JEWS

The Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly criticized Soichiro Tahara, host of TV Asahi's Sunday Project program for anti-Semitic and anti-American accusations made during a March 8th exchange with former Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka. In the live broadcast, Tahara told Tanaka that her father, former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka was “done in by America, by the Jews and Ozawa, [leader of the Democratic Party of Japan] too, was done in [by America and/or the Jews].”

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that in 2009, a time of international uncertainties and increased anti-Semitism, that a host of a news program meant to inform the Japanese people about political developments would instead conjure up non-existent conspiracies to blame domestic scandals on Jews or America,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center in a statement from Jerusalem.

Rabbi Cooper found it all the more disturbing since Tahara made this statement during a direct exchange with a former Foreign Minister, Makiko Tanaka and that it was unfortunate she did not challenge his falsehood immediately during the live broadcast. “Instead, all the viewers heard was a remark by the show host that the Foreign Minister's late father and the current president of the Democratic Party of Japan were both victims of outside plots against them,” he said.

“TV Asahi should immediately dissociate itself from this ludicrous statement and TV Asahi and Mr. Tahara owe all concerned a public apology,” he concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036.