OSAKA – Another California city is preparing a resolution to condemn Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto for his comments in May that Japan’s use of sexual slavery during the war was a necessity.
Milpitas, a city of about 66,000 in Silicon Valley, is about 70 km south of San Francisco, which passed a similar resolution against Hashimoto in June.
Introduced last month, the resolution proposed by the Milpitas City Council says it is greatly offended by Hashimoto’s remarks if found to be true, and calls on the U.S. Congress to conduct an investigation into the sex slave issue and the facts surrounding Hashimoto’s statements.
“If found to be supported by facts, (Congress should) condemn the comments of the mayor of Osaka and the acts of the Japanese government in implementing a system of sexual slavery and demand that the government of Japan acknowledge the wartime atrocities committed by its soldiers, apologize for such atrocities and compensate the victims of Japanese aggression, including the survivors of forced sexual enslavement,” the proposed resolution reads.
The move by the Milpitas City Council comes as anger with Hashimoto in California shows no sign of abating, and after Hashimoto accused certain towns, in a recent seven-page English-language letter to San Francisco and its county board of supervisors, of falling under the influence of “anti-Japanese” Korean-Americans who are erecting “comfort women” statues to honor the thousands of women abused by Imperial Japanese forces.
In Japan, the women are referred to as “ianfu,” a euphemism meaning “comfort women.”
“Recent news reported the installation of a statue of ‘comfort women’ in Glendale, California, following a similar case in Bergen County, New Jersey. Korean-Americans are reportedly taking the initiative in these movements, and these anti-Japanese movements have the tendency to harm the relationship between Japan and Korea,” Hashimoto said in a letter sent in mid-August.
He also demanded that the San Francisco board retract its resolution, warning its members not to bend to groups that would use the comfort women issue for political advantage.
“It is hoped that you refrain from conforming to any attempt to exploit the humanitarian issue of ‘comfort women’ for the political cause of negative campaigning against Japan, and that we start constructive dialogue not based on propaganda but upon accurate knowledge of history,” Hashimoto said.
The comfort women have never received official compensation from the Japanese government.