Osaka, Japan mayor under fire for calling war-time sex slaves ‘necessary’

Chinese minister says country is ‘shocked and strongly infuriated’

by Emily Senger

Toru Hashimoto (Kyodo News/AP)

Osaka, Japan Mayor Toru Hashimoto has angered his Chinese and South Korean neighbours by making comments where he called war-time sex slaves — many who were Chinese and Korean — “necessary.”

Hashimoto made the comments during a press conference with reporters Monday, reports Reuters.

“Anyone can understand that the system of comfort women was necessary to provide respite for high-strung, rough and tumble crowd of men risking their lives under a storm of bullets,” Hashimoto told reporters. “At the time, it was a necessary system to maintain military discipline.”

The Reuters report says that an estimated 200,000 “comfort women” were forced to consort with Japanese soldiers in brothels before and during WWII. The woman came from China and Korea, as well as the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan, reports BBC News.

The comments didn’t go over well in China, where Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was “shocked and strongly infuriated” after hearing of Hashimoto’s comments.

“Forced conscription of comfort women was a serious crime committed by Japanese militarism during the Second World War and it is also a major human rights issue concerning the dignity of victims,” Hong told AFP. “How to deal with its past will decide how Japan can embrace the future.”

The comments didn’t go over well in South Korea, either, where a Seoul foreign ministry spokesman told AFP: “There is worldwide recognition… that the issue of comfort women amounts to a wartime rape committed by Japan during its past imperial period in a serious breach of human rights.”

By Tuesday, Japanese officials were distancing themselves from Hashimoto’s comments, with cabinet minister Yoshihide Suga reiterating the country’s official position on comfort women. The Japanese government feels “pains towards people who experienced hardships that are beyond description,” Suga said. Japan officially apologized for its use of “comfort women” in 1993.

While the comments didn’t sit well with many, they weren’t out of character for the populist politician, who also leads an emerging conservative political party in the country, called the Japan Restoration party. But even the Japan Restoration Party was careful about endorsing Hahimoto’s statement, reports The Associated Press: “We should ask his real intentions and stop this at some point,” Sakihito Ozawa, the party’s parliamentary affairs chairman, told AP.




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Osaka, Japan mayor under fire for calling war-time sex slaves ‘necessary’

  1. Same old nationalism and misogyny from Japan’s leaders.

  2. Politicians like him is very common in Japan.

    The real issue is that he decline to admit that some of the “comfort women” were coerced.

    Coerced sex slaves were necessary for Imperial Japanese army?

    It’s provocative and immoral statement.

  3. Hashimoto needs to withdraw his comments and publicly apologize for uttering them. As a mayor of Osaka he should feel more responsible to the world than support the atrocities committed by the wartime government. How would he feel if women in his city were rounded up and the victors perform those very acts of inhuman dignity. It was so disgusting to read how he supported that atrocity.

    • He should be thrown out of office. Well, he is doing a good job of making his nation look shameful. Hope it kills tourism.

  4. I’ll fill in something you have avoided saying. That this would “not go over well” in the DPRK in particular.

  5. This comment was deleted.

    • You’re wrong. Here’s one piece of testimony of the thousands that exist.

      “Pak (her surname) was about 17, living in Hamun, Korea, when local Korean officials, acting on orders from the Japanese, began recruiting women for factory work. Someone from Pak’s house had to go. In April of 1942, Korean officials turned Pak and other young women over to the Japanese, who took them into China, not into factories.”

      Just to be clear… This woman (Pak) is telling the story of how she was tricked into sexual slavery. And you think she’s just lying? Stop drinking the kool-aid buddy, and start actually doing some research.

      The relevance of comfort women to the politics of today? Fine, make an argument about that… But it happened. it’s historical fact.

    • Absolutely wrong. Were you just sleeping on your history lessons or the education you received in your country is censored? Totally immoral to say that those sex slaves are VOLUNTARY! Most of them were kidnapped and forced to do so. Open your mind and google it. Tons of documentaries and evidence available.

    • You are as filthy a pig as he is.

  6. Average age of these “necessary” sex slaves (who were raped 20 to 40 times a day by drunk Japanese soldiers)? 15

  7. This time china will be the aggressor and let see how you feel if they did the same shit you did to them. This is beyond human morals. Even though we advance in technology and ideals in this era of time. But in reality there still barbarians in the soul of many. Disgusting the people of today….

  8. I can’t believe the Japanese Mayor’s comments. There obviously is a driving force behind his opinion or influence which doesn’t respect other nations or peoples. way too nationalist, in my own opinion.

  9. I heard that in WW2 people were consuming other human beings…. I wonder if that was acceptable in this mayor’s point of view because one nation’s soldiers were hungry and no body was around to spoon feed them……

    WW2 was a long time ago, this mayor should be sent to help out at the UN to help poor and impoverished peoples…. maybe a chance for a new lesson for him about human life and respect for all peoples.

  10. This comment was deleted.

    • Speaking of God, what in God’s name is wrong with you? Uh, are you feeling well, sir? I’m only asking because you’re stringing together some seriously unhinged nonsense right here. You alright in there?

  11. I believe the pillaging of this guy’s butthole is necessary for my comfort

  12. Flthy pervert! Shame on Abe, that pig and may all dishonor rain on Japan for countenancing such a grotesque horror. Japan should be theown off the UN Security Council.

  13. So if any of you feel like getting lucky I guess it’s OK to just grab the nearest young Japanese women and treat her like a prostitute. You can pass her around to your friends and you don’t even have to pay her. The Japanese government will approve of your actions and support you in the courts of justice and public opinion and the rest of the world will be happy to look the other way in the interest of maintaining good business relations.

  14. However he want to say that there is no “historical fact” that Japanese government forced women in occupied territories to be prostitutes for Japanese Army, he only made the issue worse than ever.

    There existed comfort women who had to unfortunately sell their sex due to poverty or other reasons. However, Japan as a government has never used its power to force a woman to be prostitute or to sell the sex. Moreover, the story that almost 200 thousands of women were carried on trucks near to the battlefield is a preposterous one and no one could have found any evidence. If such incidents had happened in Korea, many rebellions should have happened because eighty percent of policemen in Korea were Korean compatriots at the time. The first false story has grown and built up combined with the misleading explanation made by the Japanese Government, and in the result this misunderstanding has caused wide repercussions. I would like ask all the people who concern about these poor women to examine closely again historical facts and find the people who insist such a absurd story to obtain their rewards.

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