Hashimoto clarifies statement on “comfort women” after strong reactions

8 years ago by in Japan, Politics

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto clarified his remarks on the so-called “comfort women” on Wednesday, saying that he personally does not approve the system of forcing women to provide sexual services for Japan’s soldiers during World War II.

Several days ago, Hashimoto said 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.”

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.

After the latter remarks, Hashimoto told reporters on Wednesday he simply stated a fact that people at the time had that kind of view.

The comfort women system is a practice that “should not exist,” said Hashimoto, who co-heads the opposition Japan Restoration Party.