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Hashimoto says WWII Allies set up ‘comfort stations’ after soldiers committed D-Day rapes

AFP-JIJI, Kyodo

Controversial Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, arguing that while Japan must admit its own historical wrongdoings it should also point out the mistakes of others, said in a speech over the weekend that Allied soldiers liberating France during World War II raped French women.

The comment is the latest instance of a right-wing politician jumping feet-first into the sensitive topic of the Japanese use of sexual slavery during World War II, which saw thousands of women — mainly Koreans — forced to work in military brothels.

“After landing in Normandy, Allied soldiers raped French women. ‘Comfort stations’ were built after things became too much,” Hashimoto said in the speech Sunday, extending Japan’s euphemism for the brothels. “It is a historical fact. It is an unfortunate past. We must never repeat it.”

Japan officially apologized for the “comfort women” system and maintains the treaty normalizing ties with South Korea decades ago settled the issue.

But the two Koreas continue to say Tokyo is not contrite enough — a stance that is reinforced every time a senior politician equivocates or attempts to play down the subject.

Conservatives — including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe — feel Japan is unfairly singled out for wrongs that were more widespread than their accusers admit.

Historians agree that there were rapes by Allied soldiers in France. But apart from the Japanese, there is no generally accepted evidence of officially sanctioned sex attacks by any military during World War II.

“Europeans and Americans say ‘Japanese used sex slaves.’ We have to educate Japanese who would be able to argue and reply to them, ‘We were wrong, but you were wrong as well,’ ” Hashimoto said.

Hashimoto, whose small opposition party has recently fractured, is well known for stirring controversy.

  • Kyle

    Ignore Hashimoto, he is a complete tool. He has no place in this debate, and his views are irrelevant and not worth one second of thought. However, if Abe ever incorporates such extreme views into official policy (which I doubt)……

    Then it is time to come down hard on Japan. China, Korea, and Philippines should cut off all diplomatic ties to Japan. The US and UN Security Council should consider robust sanctions. Nevertheless, while Abe is a nationalist, he is also a pragmatist, and he will not push the issue too far.

    • Charlie Sommers

      For Hashimoto to compare the brutal acts of a few miscreants during the liberation of France to what amounted to the official policy of the Japanese military shows that he is a callous individual who seems to be incapable of sane reasoning. I agree, he is a complete tool.

      • Tom

        Hashimoto is referring to the fact that USA and French government set up sexual prostitute houses in North France. Its not about individuals.

    • gokyo

      While this guy is a poorly educated fool, he also bears watching. He didn’t rise to his position without a large “following” and apparently he possesses the gift of gab that has the power to stir the masses, not unlike some other historical figures that have led their countries into the melee of hell due to ideological beliefs.
      Unless he can provide authentic documentation similar to what the Chinese have done with their submission to UNESCO his rants will continue to be baseless, emotional tirades meant to stir the public sentiment and further ire the world’s impression of Japan.
      This is a good example of someone that has no idea of what war is like and ignorant of what life was like in post-war Japan.
      This “institution for the study of modern history” will become a mechanism to proffer mistruths and will merely become an institute for war-mongering.

      • Tom

        No, Hashimoto is very highly educated. So is the millions of Japanese who deny sexual slavery during WW2.

      • Warren Lauzon

        Education means little if you refuse to look at the evidence.

      • Tom

        There is no actual evidence to sexual slavary. The only thing close to evidense is testimonies with inconsistant facts and no credibility .

      • Warren Lauzon

        Even though Japan has admitted it officially at least 6 times?

      • Tom

        Japan has not admited to sexual slavary. There were statements about the posibility of it, which is typical vague Japanese politics. So no Japanese have not admitted to it.
        The statements were made at a time when there was hope that Japan-Korea relations would become better, but obviously it didn’t work. Japan is very angry at Koreans for being such a ignorant nation, and the majority support overturning freindly relations with S.Korea.

      • gokyo

        If he is so highly educated then where is the factual evidence that one uses to make their case? He doesn’t offer any of that because the Japanese military conveniently destroyed it knowing full well the future ramifications of the world learning the complete truth. But it seems that UNESCO is satisfied that evidence presented by the Chinese bears credibility for study on the “comfort woman” issue.
        The Japanese for the last several generations have not learned about the war and are poorly equipped to enter into any “intelligent” discussion on the topic. Instead they are presented with gifted speakers that stir emotions vice analytical thinking.
        Education is supposed to equip the individual with the ability to use critical thinking skills to provide a logical and analytically sound basis for understanding. Hashimoto is a result of the post-war education system that has refused to teach the complete story of Japan’s involvement during the war.

      • Tom

        Japan is the one being accused of something that didn’t happen 70 years ago. Why weren’t the Koreans and Chinese complaining directly after the war? Because there was no problem over comfort woman until the 1990′s. It was a post-war dramatization made up by Korean and Chinese government.

      • Tom

        Anyone should know that the accuser needs to bring evidence to court. Somebody comes up with accusations 70 years ago with no evidence? Every Judge in every country will not take it seriously.

      • gokyo

        UNESCO is.

      • Tom

        UNESCO just accepted documents. They are not judging over sexual slavary.

    • Tom

      Prime minister Abe has same views as Hashimoto and the majority of well educated Japanese. That is why they are both very popular.

  • Max Erimo

    The point that (Mr.) Hashimoto misses or continually chooses to ignore is that the forced prostitution of foreign nationals by the Japanese was officially sanctioned. Repeat officially sanctioned. Of course allied and axis soldiers raped and pillaged. No one is denying that. But it was never officially sanctioned by the government of the day.

    • itoshima2012

      so guess the women that were raped but their rape “wasn’t officially sanctioned” had a much better experience than the once that were raped officially sanctioned…. gimme me a break, all of you here are missing the point here because you’re blinded by that totally irrelevant politicians talk. War is terror, rape by definition, every military, but really every military ever raped and pillaged. It’s of course “wrong” but the discussion should not always be about the past and who raped more and with permission or without and more crap like that but the discussion should be on how to stop women, children wearing diapers (!!!) and men from being raped every single day in war zones on this planet. That would make a difference to their lives and that what many people are doing luckily! instead of the Japanese Times banging about Japan’s past and all the smart commentators here all the time repeating that what Japan did was “sanctioned” and women raped by other soldiers were not officially authorized to do that… what difference does that make to the person raped?! Seriously this stinks all so much….. I think women don’t care if it was sanctioned or not so yes, Hashimoto actually made a good point by saying that what Japan did was VERY WRONG but so is what others did full stop. It is good to know that we live in a sick world, only so we can fight it!

      • Kyle

        Kidnapping teenagers in the hundreds of thousands for the sole purpose of sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers is a crime against humanity. You are comparing isolated rapes by Allied soldiers with systematic coercion and “comfort” stations managed by Japanese military personal. You are comparing murder with genocide, or rape with sex slavery. I assure you it is vastly different.

        You should feel tremendous shame for your comments, but not for the historical fact. You were not there, but it nevertheless is a fact of history that all should recognize.

        The United States has plenty to feel remorse for in our history, the genocide of Native Americans, Slavery, Jim Crow Laws, the internment camps of Japanese Americans, and much more. Only through the recognition and acceptance of the past can we move forward.

      • itoshima2012

        Did you read what I wrote?! Why should I feel ashamed? Rape is always wrong, that was my statement. It also always happened, and for the past, the imperial army’s rape crimes are well documented so we know it but it is time to move on to the present because rape happens now and here. You guys just keep on talking about the past and so nothing about the present! I for myself am actuvy involved in sponsoring and donating rape victims in the DRC! So I won’t take your smart netcitizen talk, not Ben a minute!

      • Kyle

        I commend you for your current work. I do however view the past as important, if we don’t learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it. As someone who is actively supporting rape victims, you should be sensitive and empathetic towards the victims Hashimoto and others have slandered.

        Correct me if I am not mistaken, but Hashimoto once said the “comfort stations” were necessary. Please explain how victims of horrendous trauma can “move on” from the past if individuals who were not alive during the crime, claim your torture, bondage, and rape were necessary?

        One current issue in many parts of Asia is the silencing and shame of rape, in which the victim suffers long after the violation of their body. This suffering is enhanced by societal “blaming” of the victim (dress, out late). Moreover, the punishment is often not sufficient. If there is no justice for past rape, than why would current victims of rape reveal their trauma? When old women are being called prostitutes by some, what might a rape victim feel in condemning their abuser publically?

      • Warren Lauzon

        You seem to not realize the difference between rape by individuals and government sanctioned rapes.

      • Warren Lauzon

        That is the big difference I think. The US has done some pretty crappy things, but they are acknowledged and attempts are made to fix it so it does not happen again.

      • Tom

        LOL. Do you know how low the crime rate in Japan is compared to USA? Yeah, USA is doing a great job at stopping rapes and murders in their country./sarcasm. I think Japan is doing a better job at creating a peaceful world.

      • kension86

        ” I think women don’t care if it was sanctioned or not so yes”

        So you are saying Japanese women won’t care if the government decriminalize rape tomorrow?

        Get real… of course the victim WANTS to see the rapists PUNISHED, and that can’t happen if the government allows it.

      • ekxon2 .

        Of course there is a huge difference between rape sanctioned by a government and rape committed by individuals. It is so elemental that any school kids know the distinction.

        Either the right wing Japanese do not get it or they are just crudely trying to whitewash the criminal acts of the Japanese army. In the process, they only embarrass themselves.

      • Tom

        The Japanese government did not sanction any rape. There is no proof of that and Japanese strongly deny it.

      • Firas Kraïem

        You’re the one who should get real here. The US has a huge record of covering up those of its people who commit crimes in Japan and elsewhere, bringing them back home safely. For that one particular case egregious enough that the US thought they couldn’t get away with it, countless others are silently thrown under the rug.

      • kension86

        Oh, you can read my mind now? That’s amazing to hear.

        I never knew I am THAT naive (like I was in grade 10…), thanks for the reminder. Not.

      • Warren Lauzon

        “Huge”? I can recall maybe 5 cases over 50 years, and in most of those cases they still served time in a military prison. There were abuses, yes, but nothing on the same scale.

      • Warren Lauzon

        According to one official report, the number of women raped in Germany over a 20 year period amounted to “a few hundred, and in general the number of rapes was less than by the German civilian male population”. Compare that with Nanking, where estimates of rape range anywhere from 50,000 to 230,000 over just a couple of weeks.

      • Tom

        Those numbers at Nanking have no credibility. Do you seriously believe what the Chinese government says? They claim there was noTiananmen Square Massacre. LOL

  • Kyle

    Virtually all East Asian Historians in the international community, and many in Japan would argue there is more than sufficient evidence.

    • Warren Lauzon

      Someplace on Google images a while back I ran across a photo of a notice tacked up on a Japanese barracks wall in the Philippines about the location of “relief stations”.

      • Tom

        Every admits there were those sexual fascilities. Japanese denies there were slavary. There is many evidance that women were paid well and had vacations as well. Not a bad living at the time.

    • Tom

      Your view of East Asia is only Korea and China. Koreans and Chinese are only people who claim of kidnapping. They are brainwashed by government propaganda.

  • gogglespizano2

    Japan should NEVER be able to reArm it’s military. Period

    • Tom

      What does that have anything to do with WW2 crimes?

      • gokyo

        So you admit that the Japanese committed war crimes. And I would assume that you also believe that the 731 Group never existed and that there were no Okinawa civilians killed by the Japanese military.

      • Tom

        I only said that there is no evidence that Japanese government commited sexual slavary. The Japanese government and people strongly deny it.

      • ekxon2 .

        Stop saying that there are no evidence and quit denying that there are no crime committed by the Japanese military.

        Clean your ears and open your eyes, you will find an abundance of evidence. Many Korean, Chinese, Filipino and Dutch victims are still alive today.

        The Japanese right wingers are raping the victims a second time by calling them prostitutes willingly serving the Japanese for a few dirty yen.

      • Tom

        The Japanese government has asked for concrete evidence, but there is none.
        There are only testimonies from old women whose facts are inconsistant and uncredible.
        These testimonies didn’t come directly after the war, they came out 50 years later.
        Why did these testimonies come out earlier? It’s because there was no problem about it until recent years when the Koreans and Chinese decided to dramatize it 50 years after the war.
        These old women are persuaded to forge false testimonies by anti-Japanese activists.
        Koreans and Chinese use anti-Japan propaganda to keep there peoples discontent from there own problems, such as poverty, economic disparity and ethnic conflict.
        The Japanese majority, who are very peaceful, highly educated, and have high public moral have a strong view about this problem and will not let Koreans and Chinese spread lies around the world.

      • ekxon2 .

        Very obviously you lied when you said that “the Japanese government asked for concrete evidence, but there is none.” You also lied when you said that “these old women are persuaded to forge testimonies ….”

        In 1993, the Japanese government through then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, very clearly stated that many women from Korea, China, the Philippines were forced to provide sex for the Japanese soldiers and issued an apology now famously called the “Kono Statement.”

        As usual the Japanese extreme rightists tried to deny and whitewash history by vilifying Yohei Kono hoping to overturn the “Kono Statement”. But guess what, a few days ago, a five-man panel appointed by the Japanese government to re-examine the 1993 study concluded that the 1993 study which was the basis for the apology was valid. Keiichi Tadaki, the head of the panel further declared that there are enough other documents that could produce an apology as well.

        Whenever a Japanese official apologizes, another one denies it. No wonder the Chinese and Koreans keep on demanding sincere apology from Japan.

      • Tom

        The statement by Kono Yohei was made without enough evidence an is not valid. It is being reviewed and will be overturned in the near future.
        When it will be overturned is just politics, and foreign relations including the USA.
        Every Japanese laughs at Koreans who say the only evidence they have is Kono Yohei’s statements. That means they admit to having no evidence of there own.

      • ekxon2 .

        The “Kono Statement” was fact-based and was valid. Only the right wingers thought otherwise.

        The review that the right wingers hope would overturn the “Kono Statement” was already completed on June 20, 2014 and the “Kono Statement” was upheld.

        Keiichi Tadaki, head of the review panel said “We concluded the content of the study was valid.” He further said that Japan had enough evidence from other documents to produce the apology and that the interviews with the sex slaves aka comfort women were supplementary…

        Japanese of conscience keep apologizing, and Japanese right wingers keep denying. This give impression that the apologies were not sincere and the victims keep demanding for sincere apology. This cycle has no end in sight.

      • Tom

        No, Tadaki did not say “We concluded the content of the study was valid.” He said “Kono statement does not need to be reviewed.” You need to understand and read Japanese newspapers to understand the content. It is typical vague comments by Japanese politicians which are meant to satisfy both parties in an issue.
        The Japanese government decided to priortize current foreign relations over public opinion so they are not going to review or overturn it now, but it is just a matter of time.
        So, if you expect an apology over the matter you are clearly going to be disappointed.

      • ekxon2 .

        I was quoting directly from the news report of the Associated Press, dated June 21, 2014 that Tadaki said ” We concluded the content of the study was valid.” And yet, you deny that Tadaki said so. In your mind, a fact is not really a fact.

      • Tom

        As I said before, you need to be able to read Japanese to understand his comments. The AP mis-quoted his comments, just like many other previous reports from English media.

      • ekxon2 .

        So the English media are not reliable and only the Japanese ones are accurate?

        Please explain why the AP article also appeared in the Japan Times there was no correction made.

      • Tom

        Obviously the comments were made in Japanese, so only Japanese media is accurate. That is such a dumb question.

      • ekxon2 .

        You said “only the Japanese media is accurate.” This is such a dumb statement coming from you!

      • Tom

        You don’t understand Japanese politics. Everything the politicians say is vague, and so people think they apologized but it is not the real intention.
        I don’t like Japanese politicians as well. They should tell the Koreans to shut up like when they do in election time. But, they choose the easier vague comments and create trouble later.

      • ekxon2 .

        Now I get it. When the Japanese politician apologizes, take it with a grain of salt. They were only trying to make “people think they apologized but it is not their real intention.”
        All the apologies the Japanese made after the war were not really apologies according to you.

      • Tom

        Some of the comments are true, and others are just like what you said. If you have any intelligence you can understand that.

      • ekxon2 .

        So please tell me and the whole world which of the numerous Japanese apologies are true and sincere and which ones are just to make “people think they apologized but it is not their real intention” as you have clearly said.

      • Tom

        Any comments made about the basic treaty signed in 1965 was sincere. In that treaty Japan paid compensation for the war, and S.Korea agreed to demand no further compensation. (Somehow the S.Koreans decided on their own standards, that the amount wasn’t enough and they should get paid more. Clearly an violation of the agreement.)
        Any comments made about the Asian Womans Fund in 1993 was sincere. It was made to compensate for comfort women and there misery, but not for sexual slavary. There was enough compensation but S.Koreans decided not accept and keep going on with the war-of-words.
        Almost every other vague comment by a Japanese politician is not relevant.

      • ekxon2 .

        So now we can conclude, based on what you said, that aside from the basic treaty and the Asian Women Fund, all other apologies or comments as you prefer to call it, made by the Japanese are/were intentionally made very vague (so that according to you again) “other people think they apologized but it is not the real intention.” What a sham and what a shame!

      • Tom

        It is true about politicians comments that they are not relevant.
        From our conversation we can also conclude that you agree that Koreans do not have any evidence other than Kono’s statements about sexual slavary. And, since Kono’s statements are not relevant, that means there is zero credible evidence about sexual slavary.
        Koreans are claiming of a ridiculus accusation with no evidence, and demanding compensation although a treaty was signed that clearly states that Koreans will not seek anymore.
        Koreans are paranoid over something they have no case against.

      • ekxon2 .

        LOL, I have neither said that I agree with your claim that the Koreans do not have any evidence other than the ” Kono Statement” nor have I even gave you the slightest hint that I agree with you. Sorry, but your ridiculous conclusion that I agree with you is totally wrong.

        In fact, I have urged you to open your eyes so that you will see credible evidences that thousands and thousands of Chinese, Koreans, Filipino and Dutch women were forced into sex slavery by the Japanese Army during WW2. Remember, many of the rape victims are still alive today.

      • Tom

        You are also clealy not aware of the Japanese public opinion. The highly educated, highly informed and intelligent majority of Japanese support not apologizing to the rediculous accusations of sexual slavary.
        They are mostly the young and inteligent generation, and really mad at Koreans about this prolonging issue. I mean really really mad and totally hate them.
        This issue being pressed by Koreans is certainly damaging Japan-Korea relations. The Koreans obviously do not care about Japanese feelings and only care about there own. If they are mature and intelligent they should find a point of compromise because it is not coming in the way they hope from Japan.

      • ekxon2 .

        I may not be clearly aware of the Japanese public opinion, but I am very aware of the public opinion of the world-at-large. Sorry, they do not side with the Japanese.

      • Tom

        Koreans keep crying about how infuriated they are about Japans stance about the comfort women issue, but they have no idea about how mad Japanese are becoming about it. There used to be a time when majority Japanese had good to normal feelings toward S.Korea, but now the public opinion and elections clearly show that Japanese hate Koreans.
        And yes I think you are Korean, because only Koreans are so obsessed with the issue and persistant and annoying.

      • ekxon2 .

        Whether I am Korean or Chinese or Japanese or American is immaterial in this discussion. Silly Tom, do not inject non-issue into this topic.

      • gogglespizano2

        Do you think their self denial of past war crimes will increase or decrease if they have a full up military behind these politicians to help them rewrite any history they don’t particularly like???

      • Tom

        Having a millitary has nothing to do with what the Japanese think about WW2 By the way they already have a self-defence force that is one of the most powerful in the world.

      • gogglespizano2

        An armed Japan is a more dangerous world

  • Warren Lauzon

    Hashimoto is an idiot – I guess he could be called a Japanese Redneck. It is very true that many allied commanders allowed red light districts to exist side by side with military posts in many places while under occupation – including in Japan and Korea. But the huge difference is that it was not forced, like the Japanese military did.

    • Tom

      It was not forced by Japanese as well.

  • Warren Lauzon

    Uhm.. I suppose you deny that the holocaust happened also?

    • Tom

      What a dumb comment. Those two historical events have nothing in common.

  • Bisha Mon

    How much did the allied forces pay for buying prostitutes?!
    I think japanese soldiers paid ¥300..sorry if I’m incorrect.

    • Charlie Sommers

      I don’t know how much the allied soldiers in France paid for a prostitute but in 1943. before the yen was devalued, a Senior Private in the Imperial Army paid 2 yen for a visit to a comfort lady. This was from his monthly salary of 9 yen. You must remember that at that time the yen was worth about 19 US dollars.

      In Japan in the early 1960′s a US serviceman visiting a brothel, staffed entirely by free lance prostitutes with no government control, could expect to pay from 500 to 1,500 yen. The exchange rate at that time was 360 yen to $1.00.