Toru Hashimoto, Osaka’s Mayor and co-leader of the opposition Japan Restoration Party, said at the beginning of the week that recruiting women to provide sexual service to the Japanese military force in World War II was “necessary to maintain discipline” and that the so-called “comfort women” were “needed to provide rest to a group of brave soldiers who were exalted in the line of fire.”
The mayor asked, “Why is the Japanese ‘comfort women’ system only blamed? Other countries had similar schemes at the time.”
Hashimoto denied that the Japanese army abducted women and forced them into sexual slavery by assaulting and threatening them, Kyodo news agency reports.
According to Hashimoto, Europe and the United States call Japan a “nation of rapists” due to “campaigns by South Korea and other nations.”
But the “comfort women’s” feelings are necessary to be understood, Hashimoto said, as the system of sexual slavery was born “as a tragic consequence of war”.
A South Korean government official slammed Hashimoto’s remarks on “comfort women,” saying they showed a “serious lack of recognition of history and the need to respect women’s human rights,” according to Yonhap News Agency.
Hashimoto’s remarks outraged other opposition parties in Japan.