Hashimoto remarks ‘outrageous and offensive’: U.S. State Department

Kyodo

A State Department spokeswoman on Thursday branded remarks by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto defending Japan’s wartime system of sexual servitude as “outrageous” in the first outright criticism of the comments by a U.S. government official.

Commenting on Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s contention that the system was considered necessary before and during World War II, Jen Psaki told a press briefing, “We have seen of course those comments. Mayor Hashimoto’s comments were outrageous and offensive.

“As the United States has stated previously, what happened in that era to these women who were trafficked for sexual purposes is deplorable and clearly a grave human rights violation of enormous proportions,” Psaki said.

“We hope that Japan will continue to work with its neighbors to address this and other issues arising from the past and cultivate relations that will allow them to move forward.”

A senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity that “we were all broadly offended by the comments in the building.”

Hashimoto, coleader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), the third-largest party in the Lower House with former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, has made a series of remarks arguing that the sex slavery system was considered necessary to keep discipline in the wartime Japanese military.

The women are euphemistically called “comfort women” in Japan.

He also suggested U.S. servicemen in Japan should use the country’s legal adult entertainment industry to prevent them from committing sex offenses against locals.

The comments have angered neighboring countries that suffered under Japanese rule before and during World War II and even baffled many members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet.

Hashimoto said Thursday he lacked “international awareness” with regard to his remarks about U.S. servicemen. He noted he did not intend to encourage prostitution but refused to retract the remarks.

  • Ron NJ

    Despicable though he is, you can’t place it all on Hashimoto – the electorate bears some responsibility as the ones who have consistently voted him into power. It’s certainly not as if he is doing anything now that is less controversial than normal for him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/masi.yos.7 Masi Yos

    The U.S. government has requested the Korean government a sex slave at the time of the Korean War.

    The U.S. government has requested the Japanese government a sex slave in Japan during the occupation.

    Let’s the apology and compensation.

  • frankyburns

    Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse — Japan is importing the GOP.

    • geraldshields

      Yes, Conservatives aren’t just in the U.S.

    • 秋中 赳

      As opposed to your Democrats, who have a magnificent track record of distorting history?

  • 秋中 赳

    That’s the same United States that approved of forcing Japanese women into prostitution during the occupation and also whitewashed thousands of rape cases.

    The Australians were also involved, but their historians have uncovered and published it.