NEW YORK (Jun. 15)
In the face of substantial international criticism, a Japanese publisher has recalled a book released last week that extols Adolf Hitler’s political methods.
The publisher of the book, “Hitler Election Strategy: A Bible for Certain Victory in Modern Elections,” also said he is retiring.
Eiichi Niimura, the publisher, told The New York Times, “I am 76 years old. This incident has made me think my judgment has declined.”
He said he had been asked to recall the book by its author, Yoshio Ogai, a public relations official of Japan’s largest political party, the Liberal Democrats.
In the book, the author describes Hitler’s manner of concentrating power as “very important teachings,” but does not deal with Hitler’s policies toward Jews or the fact that Hitler was a dictator.
Neil Sandler, director of the Pacific Rim Institute of the American Jewish Committee in Los Angeles, said the book’s recall “indicates that Japan is becoming increasingly sensitive to American and world opinion.”
He said publication of the book “was an outrageous action and indicated extraordinary insensitivity on the part of the (Liberal Democratic Party) official and the publisher.
“At this point, we would like to see a clear and unequivocal apology from the author of the book,” he said.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, also in Los Angeles, termed the recall “a very important development.
“The main concern about a book like this is who wrote it and published it. In Japan, very little happens by accident,” Cooper said.
The Wiesenthal Center is currently showing an exhibit on the Holocaust in Japan, and it has drawn tens of thousands of viewers, Cooper said.
“You have a tremendous curiosity about that era” in Japan, Cooper said.
But he questioned “who is going to be educating the public? All 3,000 copies of the book were sold out at the major Tokyo bookstores.”