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NBC Backpedals Over Analyst's Japan Controversy

Analyst praised former occupier Japan as an example for Koreans
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2018 7:33 AM CST
NBC Backpedals Over Analyst's Japan Controversy
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe smiles as he watches a women's hockey game between Japan and Sweden at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – NBC continues to suffer fallout from its coverage of the opening ceremony in the Pyeongchang Olympics, with the network issuing an apology on behalf of an analyst who sparked controversy by praising Japan. Joshua Cooper Ramo on Friday called Japan "a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation." Cooper Ramo's statement, as the New York Times notes, while acknowledging that Japan occupied the Korean peninsula, appeared to glaze over the long, troubled relationship between Japan and the Koreas, and sparked immediate outrage in the Olympics' host nation, South Korea.

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An online petition demanding an apology currently has more than 10,000 signatures, and reads thusly: "Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurtful and outrageous." NBC apologized on-air Saturday via anchor Carolyn Manno, who said, "We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize." (Read more 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics stories.)

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