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Japanese leader attacks 'River Kwai' Britons, simple-minded Americans

By Nairita Das

London, Aug. 26 (ANI):A former secretary-general of Japan's ruling Democratic Party, who is tipped to be a future prime minister, has described the British as not being very likeable, and dismissed Americans as too simple minded.

Ichiro Ozawa, 68, said: "I don't like British people," before praising British democracy and their discipline, citing the 1957 Second World War II film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, in which British prisoners of war march in orderly ranks."

The film, based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai starred Sir Alec Guinness, William Holden and Jack Hawkins. Guinness won an Oscar for his portrayal of Colonel Nicholson, who convinces the other British prisoners of war to build a bridge for the Burma-Siam railway as a means of boosting British morale, but which eventually turns into a monument to himself.

The film won six other Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Veterans of the Second World War who fought against Japan were quoted by The Telegraph as saying that Ozawa's comments about Britain were insensitive but they would "not get into a sweat about it".

John Weeks, 92, secretary of the Burma Star Association, an organisation for those who fought in the Burma campaign against Japan, said: "I don't like this, I must say. He is just having a go at us but I think we should just let that sort of thing pass us by."

"Why is the United States so simple? I like Americans, but they are somewhat like single-cell (organisms)," Ozawa told a political seminar in Tokyo.

Despite his opinion of the American people, he praised US democracy, in particular the achievement of Barack Obama becoming president.

Ozawa has drawn criticism before for remarks on Christianity, describing it as "exclusive and self-righteous" in November last year. He also said US and European societies were at a "dead end." (ANI)

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