Where do these guys come from?

Regarding the May 15 front-page article “Hashimoto takes flak for sex slave rationale” and related media stories: Why would a system of government-sponsored brothels be considered inappropriate, not to mention criminal, in this day and age?

If Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto doesn’t know the answer to that, he is truly out of touch with his constituents.

It staggers the imagination that the mayor of Japan’s second-largest city would suggest anything so vile and racist as to use Okinawan women (and girls) as official prostitutes for young, red-blooded American military personnel. What does this say about Hashimoto’s understanding of women’s equality and human rights? What does it say about his prejudice toward the people of Okinawa, especially those who are native to the islands?

It is reprehensible that Hashimoto would further suggest that such a brothel system could be much like the “comfort women” stations organized by the Japanese government during World War II, which basically amounted to sexual slavery — exploitation and abuse of thousands of female Asian victims, many younger than 16.

Let me venture to say that in a more civilized society, Hashimoto would have spent the morning after making these remarks searching the “help wanted” ads of his favorite newspaper. Hashimoto appears to be groping for a moral compass. No one will ever accuse him of being a bleeding-heart humanitarian.

Japanese leaders like Hashimoto are bringing great shame on the nation. Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara appears to have passed the right-wing torch to a new generation that sounds almost as stupid and pigheaded as he.

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.