On Monday Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto talked for almost three hours to the foreign press, defending himself regarding the comments made on wartime sex slaves.
Hashimoto stressed again that Japanese soldiers were not the only ones guilty for using the so-called “comfort women” system, claiming that armies around the world used it too.
The politician outraged the local and international community recently by saying the so-called “comfort women” forced to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers during World War II were “necessary” in order to reduce soldiers’ stress and aggressive behavior. Hashimoto added that is not fair for Japan to be the only one condemned for using military brothels, as there were other countries to do so during World War II.
Pressed by foreign journalists’ questions, Hashimoto stepped back from the assertion, but insisted Japan was not alone.
“(Sexual violation) existed in the armed forces of the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the former Soviet Union among others during World War II,” he said.
“I believe there were some forms of human trafficking at such local facilities operated by the private sector and used by the US and British militaries during World War II,” Hashimoto said.
The politician did not offer, however, any proof to sustain his comments and there is no evidence that other modern military forces used a sex slavery system, according to the international press.
“From a historical viewpoint, it is unclear if Japan, as a national policy, carried out abduction or human trafficking. In terms of human traffic, there is no difference between facilities operated with the military involvement of Japan and similar facilities run by the private sector,” he added. “Both were bad.”
Hashimoto used the occasion to retract advice he gave to the U.S. military commanders in Japan to use the local licensed sex businesses.
“I retract my inappropriate remarks to the US Army and the American people and sincerely apologize to them,” he said.