TOKYO — Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso refused Friday to resign or apologize over remarks suggesting Japan should follow the Nazi example of how to change the country’s constitution stealthily and without public debate.
Following protests by neighboring countries and human rights activists, he ‘‘retracted’’ the comments on Thursday but refused to go further.
‘‘I have no intention to step down’’ as Cabinet minister or lawmaker, said Aso, who is also deputy prime minister. The government also said it is not seeking Aso’s resignation, which some opposition members have demanded.
Aso, who is known for intemperate remarks, said Thursday he was misunderstood and only meant to say that loud debate over whether Japan should change its postwar constitution and over other issues is not helpful.