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Hashimoto to urge ‘strict discipline’ for U.S. military

Kyodo, AP

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Sunday he will urge the U.S. military to strictly discipline its servicemen in Japan and repeated that he would retract a remark suggesting they use Okinawa’s sex industry to avoid committing sexual offenses.

Hashimoto said on a TV program that he will make the appeal at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, when he will also apologize to the American people and military for his comments that U.S. personnel in Okinawa should make use of the local sex industry.

“I will urge (the U.S. and its military) to enforce strict discipline in a full-fledged manner” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, the cohead of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) said. He first mentioned the plan on Saturday.

Attempting to explain his original intent, he repeated Sunday that he was trying to urge the U.S. military to “be more responsible” because of the rising number of sex offenses against servicewomen in its ranks.

“The situation within the U.S. military concerning sexual assaults against women soldiers has been horrible and President (Barack) Obama is outraged about it,” Hashimoto said.

Meanwhile, he again stated that he has no intention of retracting his recent claim that the forcible recruitment of women to work as sex slaves for the Imperial Japanese Army during the war “was necessary” to maintain discipline among its troops. The remark caused global outrage and opprobrium.

On May 13, Hashimoto said brothels staffed by “comfort women,” as they are euphemistically called in Japan, were necessary for brave soldiers who had been at the frontlines of the war.

He also said that during an April inspection of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, he had asked a senior U.S. officer to allow marines to use the prefecture’s sex services to prevent them from assaulting local women.

On Saturday, Kim Bok Dong, 87, one of tens of thousands of South Korean forced to provide sex for Japan’s soldiers, dismissed Hashimoto’s “absurd comment” about the comfort woman system and said that anyone who makes such ill-conceived remarks should quit politics.

Kim and compatriot and ex-sex slave Kil Won Ok, 85, who are touring Japan to reveals the details of their painful past, canceled a meeting Friday with Hashimoto, citing his lack of remorse and reluctance to become political pawns.

Hashimoto’s comments have caused an uproar in neighboring countries that experienced Japan’s wartime aggression firsthand and continue to complain about the lack of atonement for atrocities committed by its troops.

  • Frank Bennett

    This warrants a slow handclap by the Foreign Press Association.

  • Spudator

    I can’t imagine the U.S. military paying much attention to this obnoxious and foolish man anymore. If Hashimoto is serious about stopping U.S. servicemen raping Okinawan women, he should have confined himself to that issue alone. Instead he had to make the idiotic suggestion that servicemen be encouraged to make use of the local sex industry and then link that to his contention that Japan’s war crime of employing foreign sex slaves in World War II was normal and acceptable.

    Hashimoto needs to understand that the only thing the world wants to hear from him right now is a retraction of and apology for his lies, misogyny and racism.

    • Masa Chekov

      I think the world wants to hear the sound of him going away.

  • NiseiShonagon

    What a laugh. This coming from someone who can’t even discipline himself, as evidenced by the firestorm his thoughtless words have caused and the further souring of ties to what should be allies in Asia. The pathetic show of false concern for American servicewomen is really the pièce de résistance. Nobody any decency would dare to play that card for political sympathy after so thoroughly displaying contempt for both women and non-Japanese people in the preceding weeks.

    I have infinitely more respect for Ms. Kim and her compatriots who are telling it like it is, both to Japanese citizens at home and to Hashimoto’s dishonest face. What they’re saying really needs to be heard.

  • norm

    The only reason that the sex slaves is an issue is because Japan Lost WW II, everyone is forgetting what the winners of the war did? How many Japanese women became sex slaves in the aftermath of the was? And don’t forget that the “local sex industry” was on the American bases n Viet Nam and Korea. Hashimoto-san is actually right this time.
    Also a lot of the Korean women willing got into the sex trade during the war years, they just said that they were forced to save “face” because they were found out.
    American G.I.’s have forgotten that they are the “guest” of Japan, currently it appears as though they think that Japan owes them more. Japan should force the issue of Futenma and have it closed without trying to move it to a different location in Japan. The U.S. has been blackmailing the Japanese for the past 50 years or more.

    • Glen Douglas Brügge

      You seem to be forgetting that the Japanese government helped set up post-war brothels for US troops under the exact same logic Hashimoto is now using. They were afraid that the “good” Japanese women would fall victims of the US occupiers, so what better way of stemming the tide than “sacrificing” desperate, fallen women? And it is no secret, it has never been denied, that US servicemen used sex workers in both Vietnam, Japan and Korea – and many women were raped by American troops during the occupation of Okinawa – a simple “Google” search will confirm this. It seems as if you are in denial; the pot calling the kettle black, if it were. Just because X did it, does not make it acceptable. And I certainly feel sorry for the Okinawans, they have been the victims of occupation since 1609 (Okinawa was an independent kingdom, mind you, and did not belong to Japan). Not only did they have to face the destruction of their kingdom by the Satsuma domain, but they bore the brunt of the occupation on behalf of Imperial Japan, and they continue to carry the burden for the rest of the country (and have to put up with Hashimoto’s insensitive remarks to boot). The Okinawans are the true pawn in the game.

    • anon325

      I seriously and highly doubt women and young girls would ‘willingly’ go to get multiply raped and have to service 50 guys a day and have forced abortions? And even those that did willingly go thinking to do that kind of ‘work’, once there and realizing and wanting to leave, being blocked from leaving would constitute as being held against their will you know? and sorry to tell you, Japan may like to say that U.S. is their ‘guest’ to ‘save face’ but you are basically colonized and neutered. It’s called neo-colonialism.

  • Toolonggone

    He’s the one who needs discipline. Unfortunately, Hashimoto is a local politician and his political activities don’t have a significant influence on the politics at national level, so it’s less likely he’s will be purged for his stupid stunt. He’s just one of those Chuckie clowns dancing in Japanese political circus. I would vomit if he started making a political campaign about women’s rights.

  • Glen Douglas Brügge

    Way to go Hashimoto. First he promotes the use of sex workers, then he turns around and reworks what he said? His original comment had nothing to do with “decent treatment for sex workers.” He essentially said “Have at it!” Now he’s backtracking. Does he have any idea how bad this looks? Never mind the fact that he is now claiming that he will chastise the US military for being rape-happy as part of his “reworking” of the record. I believe this man lacks logic and tact.