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Osaka: What do you make of Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s comments about “comfort women” and his suggestion that U.S. forces in Okinawa use local brothels?

by Ray Franklin

Edo Lastiri
“Retired hippie,” 70 (American)

He’s a perfect example of why “diapers and politicians should be changed often, and for the same reason”! He’s too incompetent for Osaka, and should be “promoted” to national government. I’ve lived here for 30 years; I miss the old days when mayors and governors concentrated on administering Osaka and stayed out of the limelight. Hashimoto should take his showboating to Tokyo and leave Osaka under the radar.

Masaaki Nagai
Shop staff, 44 (Japanese)

I think he’s trying to do too much, and should just focus on boosting business and tourism in Osaka. South Koreans and Chinese are the top tourists visiting Japan, and the Osaka economy really needs them, so his comments do not help us at all. He should leave such matters to the national government and think about promoting Osaka first whenever he speaks out.

Motoko Aimoto
University lecturer, 55 (Japanese)

His comments were stupid, to be honest. I get what he was trying to say, but he should watch his words and realize the power they have. The media may try to bait him with controversial questions but he should be smart enough to avoid answering rather than offer his personal opinions. That might have been fine when he was a TV commentator, but not now that he’s a representative of Osaka.

Jan Merkle
Electrician student, 20 (German)

Kansai has no military bases, so why is he giving advice to U.S. forces in Okinawa about something he has no experience of? Maybe he was trying to sympathize with the Okinawans, but he seems to have just made things worse. And why is a city mayor creating a news scandal by talking about controversial historical matters unrelated to his city? I hope Japan can get along with its postwar neighbors like Germany does.

Tomohiko Tanaka
Home helper, 25 (Japanese)

He’s giving Osaka a bad name. I liked him at first because when he first appeared on the scene he was a breath of fresh air in a stagnant political climate, but now his right-wing nationalism and heavy-handed management style are polluting the atmosphere here. I’ve lost my faith in him as our leader; the people gave him a chance, and he blew it.

Dom Steward
Marketing manager, 47 (Scottish)

Hashimoto is a lying, thieving bastard like all politicians, so who gives a f—k what he says? He’s only saying all that to stay in the news, but he’s an embarrassment to Osaka and I hope he doesn’t get re-elected. But politics is such a mess that he’ll probably become prime minister in five or 10 years! He’s such an idiot that I don’t even want to hear about him anymore.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp

  • bsyoo2011

    I believe someday we can see more politicians who has sincere and frank mind about the history with neighbors in Japan just like in German.

  • jwtn

    I hope someday that japan takes responsibility for the past and does something meaningful to help the okinawans.

    • Brian

      Pretty sure they have heavily and disproportionately subsidized all that is Okinawa. How about Okinawans do something to help themselves, besides let Pachinko parlors take over the island?

      • jwtn

        I live in Okinawa, what you dont realize is how much these bases are actually preventing development. Many of my Okinawan friend are hard working people with great ideas.

  • mohindar

    Luckily the Japanese commenters seem more rational. See how the white guys start screaming about how morally outraged they are?

    Hashimoto’s comments were stupid and insensitive, but that should not affect any judgment on his ability to run his jurisdiction. I have lived as a minority in the West for many years, and let me tell the people of Japan: Do not think like a white man. Stay realistic. Stay pragmatic.

  • YoDude12

    So, Aimoto-san, as long as Hashimoto doesn’t say it out loud, but only carries it in his heart (opinion), then all is fine?

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    What would I make of this, a shame should be first.
    I’m ashamed of having such an awful man as one of my co-national, who has few sense of women’s rights, most important thing is, that “he’s not unusual” at all.
    Japanese men, are the result that we Japanese women kept spoling for much long time, then sometimes some of them says “sexual services of women, it’s natural merchandise to be able to perchase, is there any problem with my idea?”
    It’s called our Japanese women’s shame.
    Honestly, after Hashimoto’s address appeared, I did preach some Japanese boy recently, for his reckless statement just like as above.
    Then, how do you imagine what he responsed me next?
    “How do you think about my rights, you denied all of my rights to live, you’re too mean, you’re too cruel, how could you do this to me?” that’s what he said.
    Well, of course I’ve never denied his rights to “live”, I did say that I’m not going to allow him saying “sexual services of women, it’s natural merchandise to be able to perchase.”
    So is Hashimoto, never recognized that he embarrassed not only former comfort women people, or US people, but also his co-national women much, too.

    I have few concern to worry about what or how US reacted it, it’s not that important to me, since we always apologize as soon as possible when US has got mad, so it’s not my matter.
    Embarrassing and hurting former comfort women unnecessarily, by some stupid Japanese man, this is very my sorrow, matter, and repentance.