An outspoken nationalist mayor said the Japanese military’s forced prostitution of Asian women before and during WWII was necessary to provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle.
The comments made Monday are irking neighboring countries that bore the brunt of Japan’s war machine and have long complained the island nation has failed to atone for it’s wartime atrocities.
Toru Hashimoto, the brash mayor of Osaka who is a leader of an emerging conservative party, also said US troops stationed in Japan should patronize local prostitutes to reduce rapes and other assaults
Hashimoto went on to tell reporters that there wasn’t clear evidence that the Japanese military had coerced women to become what are euphemistically called “comfort women.”
“To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time,” Hashimoto said. “For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That’s clear to anyone.”
According to historians, some 200,00 women from the Korean Peninsula and China were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese. China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the comments:
“We are appalled and indignant about the Japanese politician’s comments boldly challenging humanity and historical justices”