Sacked Japan air force head defends WWII statements

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TOKYO — A Japanese general who was fired as head of the air force for suggesting Japan deserves credit, not blame, for its World War II actions stood by his claim Monday.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Toshio Tamogami was dismissed a month ago for writing an essay that said Asia benefited from imperial Japan's activities before and during the war.

Tamogami defended that position Monday, saying Japan has been unjustly subjected to what he called "the history of the victor."

He said he decided to write the essay because he believes Japan has been wrongly blamed for being an aggressor in World War II, and that it cannot have a healthy relationship with its neighbors or assume a more active role on the global stage until that view of history is corrected.

"I have to say that Japan was not alone in being an aggressor," he told a news conference. "If you look at what the major world powers were doing at the time, I think Japan was gentler."

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