Mayor to meet with former 'comfort women'

Hashimoto stays in the hot seat


Staff Writer

International condemnation of Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s comment that the wartime sex slavery system was necessary continued Thursday, with the United States calling the mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) coleader’s remarks outrageous and offensive.

Meanwhile, the city of Osaka announced Hashimoto would meet with two Korean former “comfort women” next week in a bid to defuse the situation.

Next month, Hashimoto plans to travel to San Francisco, where he is scheduled to meet with Edwin Lee, the city’s first Asian-American mayor and the former director of its human rights commission. After that, Hashimoto plans to visit New York to meet with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

But a U.S. official in Japan hinted Hashimoto could find himself an unwanted guest.

“As the U.S. has previously stated, what happened in that era to these women who were trafficked for sexual purposes is deplorable, and a grave human rights violation of enormous proportions,” the official said. “We understand Hashimoto is planning to travel to the U.S. We are not sure that anybody will want to meet him.”

Hashimoto will have a public meeting with the two former sex slaves on May 24 at City Hall.

The event was hastily arranged under tremendous pressure by members of Hashimoto’s own party and others in City Hall out of fear the controversy is damaging Osaka’s domestic and international reputation.

At the national political level, the fallout is affecting Nippon Ishin’s relations with key ally Your Party, which has been scrambling to reassure voters that its views on history, at least, are different from Hashimoto’s.

Your Party was planning to cooperate with Nippon Ishin in the upcoming Upper House election.

On Wednesday evening, however, Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe told reporters his party might end its election cooperation agreement.

“If Hashimoto’s historical views are the same views as his party, we’ll review our relationship,” Watanabe said.

New Komeito, which cooperates with Hashimoto’s local group, Osaka Ishin no Kai (One Osaka), in the municipal assembly, where they form the ruling coalition, is also furious.

New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, in his email magazine Wednesday, called Nippon Ishin, with its coleaders Hashimoto and Shintaro Ishihara, who believe the sex slave system was necessary, a “reckless political party.”

“The good sense of the voters will flatly reject a party with these kinds of leaders,” he said.

As criticism continues, Hashimoto went on television Thursday to say it was inappropriate that he suggested the U.S. military in Okinawa should make more use of the legal sex industry as a way to curb servicemen’s sexual impulses.

“My way of expressing myself was poor. I talked about legal establishments, which didn’t mean I was promoting prostitution,” he said. “My understanding of America’s sex industry culture was insufficient. In America, if you say ‘sex industry,’ people immediately think of prostitution. . . . What I wanted to say was that I wanted to control sex crimes in Okinawa with a real argument,” he said, adding that he lacked “international awareness.”

But he stuck to his basic stance that the comfort women system had been necessary during the war and said international debate on the issue is important.

“If you get angry at the opposite reactions and don’t proclaim your views, then you can’t connect with people around the world,” Hashimoto said.

He told reporters Thursday evening he agrees with the Nippon Ishin Diet group that his comments regarding sex establishments in Okinawa were inappropriate. However, he also urged the U.S. to think about not just the human rights of the comfort women, but also the rights of people living near U.S. bases in the prefecture.

He also admitted his remarks would likely negatively affect his U.S. trip in June and some Americans may choose not to meet him. But he added that if U.S. human rights groups ask to meet him and discuss his comments, he would.

  • exodus

    How did a man like this even get elected? Not really surprising, in a country where women who come across as too intelligent / well-informed are not considered attractive by other men (they are too threatening / they are not “kawaii”). At a “goukon” (group gathering of males and females for dinner or drinks), I can’t tell you the amount of times the table was engulfed in complete silence by a woman (myself included) uttering something remotely intelligent about current affairs. The men go for the “burikko” (the kind of fake-smiling fake-persona pretend-kawaii girl that would make any self-respecting person cringe). Hence the exodus of extremely bright and capable Japanese women – and men for that matter – when the country probably needs them most. There is a real brain drain in Japan. The person who should have been in Hashimoto’s shoes is probably running a successful business in some other country.

    Japan, a country years ahead of its peers in terms of technology (can’t really even say that anymore with Korea and China catching up), but in terms of humanitarian awareness, 50 years behind everyone else.

    • JTCommentor

      Yes, the average Japanese man is completely unique and alone in valuing superficial beauty, femininity and a nice smile compared to every other man in the history of the rest of the world who ignores appearance and chooses his mate based on personality and inner beauty…

      While thats a nice ideal, and of course there are some men who do this, many (most) men in the general population value looks over personality.

      Having said that, people tend to find the partner who suits them – be it someone who enjoys discussing current events, or someone who has a nice smile. And be assured, for every guy who likes girls like that, there is a girl like that.

      Finally, a gokon is not just for meeting people, its also for having a bit of fun, a laugh and relaxing. Maybe the attendees had stressful and intense day jobs, and the last thing they wanted at night was to discuss complex issues on current affairs.

      • exodus

        “, femininity and a nice smile” are indeed universally valued traits but “burikko”? Not so sure. There’s a big difference. Not all girls who are beautiful, feminine and have a nice smile are burikko…and thank goodness.

        Agree regarding goukon but we weren’t exactly discussing the trade deficit or the Arab Spring. Just day-to-day social commentary and run-of-the-mill news items. I think you can have fun and relax without having to act like a complete airhead.

      • Guest

        I’m sure all men like “beauty, femininity and a nice smile” but burikko? Not so sure. There’s a big difference. Not all girls who are beautiful, feminine and have a nice smile are burikko….and thank goodness.

        Agree regarding goukon but we weren’t exactly discussing the trade deficit or the Arab Spring. Just day-to-day social commentary and run-of-the-mill news items. I think you can have fun and relax without having to act like a complete airhead.

    • Agniel

      “How did a man like this even get elected?”

      Well, since he did get elected, it must be that a lot of Japan’s voters agree with his views, even if they’re too chicken to say so in public.

  • Shanasmiles

    Hashimoto is a disgusting, ignorant, shameful excuse for a man. Comfort women were not and are not necessary. If your men cannot complete their mission or maintain their morale without raping a bunch of women, then you’ve failed on all levels of leadership, justice, & ethics.
    American soldiers who rape or sexually assault Japanese citizens (or anyone else) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of LOCAL law AND then subject to UCMJ. As a female US Army veteran, I know this is a massive problem as us military leadership turns a blind eye to even soldier on soldier rape. This situation will not be facilitated by denigrating and demeaning your own women! Creating brothels would do nothing to stanch sexual assault and rape as those acts are about power and not about sex. You should perhaps focus on creating opportunities for women so that sex industry work isn’t the only or most attractive option. Prostitution may be legal in Japan, but it is not the cue to societal ills.
    Finally, since Hashimoto ADMITS freely that he doesn’t have even a rudimentary clue about American laws and customs AND has never heard of the UN (or it’s position on RAPE as a war crime), he should be denied a visa to visit the United States. He may just rape anyone since he has no problem with it and didnt seem to know that rape is illegal. Or, he may patronize a prostitute in San Francisco (possibly even a Male prostitute) and then he will be arrested and further embarrass Japan and damage relations Internationally. Keep him home.
    In closing, he says we shouldn’t be angry at ‘opposite opinions.’ Well, sir, you hold the same opinion as the majority of rapists and pedophiles we imprison for acting on their compulsions. So of course people are angry. You have forfeited ALL morale authority to shame the ENTIRE world for not agreeing that a woman’s body is there expressly for the use of a man. You have the right to say what you want, but so do I. Your freedom to speak is not freedom from criticism. Stay Home. I think you are dangerous and a pathetic stain on your beautiful, majestic, free country.

    • Masa Chekov

      I would hope the US doesn’t deny him a visa because of his opinions. It’s a bad precedent to set. People should be allowed to voice their opinions no matter how despicable.

      Besides it’s better to have these sorts of idiots in the spotlight rather than in the shadows. Let them feel the full force of people’s opinion. Don’t let them feel victimized by thinking their views are being suppressed.

      • Shanasmiles

        If he hadn’t recommended (as a Japanese official) that the US Army build a brothel in Okinawa etc, I could agree that the ‘comfort women’ statement was just his opinion and, though abhorrent, I could overlook that. However, acting in an official capacity as mayor, that’s a recommendation he made and leaves the realm of opinion and enters the realm of politics. While it is highly unlikely the army would consider such a thing in this day and age, the fact that Hashimoto is making these ‘recommendations’ is beyond alarming. He can feel victimized, because ideas like rape is chicken soup for the soldiers’ souls, deserve to be oppressed.

      • yas

        His statement is surely vulger.

        But porpose is to suggest a way to protect Okinawa civilian that sometime to be raped by US military.

        In addition my opinion, Japan-US Alliance and US military Base is required for Japan. But also need to reduce to cause trouble for Okinawa civilian.

      • Masa Chekov

        Lack of sex doesn’t cause rape. Rape is a crime of violence.

      • Andreas K

        Check China. China is lacking a lot of women. The situation is so bad that in some areas sex crime is through the roof on a scale that I would have deemed impossible.

      • Masa Chekov

        Andreas, check the literature. Rape is a crime of violence, it’s not horny guys who want to get laid. It’s violence.

      • rogerdebris

        Um, let’s separate reality from PR. It was the anti-rape movement of the 1970s in the United States that articulated the belief that violence is a particular form of domination based on social relationships of unequal power. Betty Friedan used this to define all rape as based on violence and politically, that’s become the standard yeardstick in the developed world. However, while I would agree that rape involving physical assault is violent in nature, there are “other” types of sexual crimes — date rape, acquaintance rape, incest, etc. — which seem more related to power, less on violence. In no way am I making excuses for rapists. But I’ve seen enough “non-violent” sex crimes in my life to know that they cannot all be defined with a single brush. The Greeks recognized that there is a difference between murder and manslaughter. Crimes are not black and white, why should rape be any different?

      • Glen Douglas Brügge

        Agreed. If all of us raped each time we felt like having sex, I believe 99% of the women on this planet would probably be rape victims by this line of logic. It is ultimately up to the morality of the person. If you cannot tell right from wrong, or feel no empathy, then there is little hope for you.

      • Masa Chekov

        Diasgree. Modern democracies shouldn’t punish people for speaking their mind regardless of how awful that opinion is. He’s not making official army prostitution stations or something, he expressed his awful opinion.

        And he’s paying for it.

      • Shanasmiles

        Disagree, he made an official recommendation to army officials at Okinawa to open US run brothels in the area. The general was disgusted by him.

      • Shanasmiles

        Furthermore, we regularly punish people for their opinions. The first amendment is rife with limitations. You can’t call for violence against others, scream fire in a packed theater, or threaten to kill politicians… He is calling for violence against women and violation of international treaties (which Japan is also beholden)

      • Shanasmiles

        It isn’t punishment to deny a person entry for being a divisive figure. The us denies visas on much shakier ground everyday. He isn’t an American and our constitution doesn’t protect him.
        Sorry for the three responses, my iPad is acting crazy on this website.

      • Masa Chekov

        Immigration doesn’t really have much to do with the US Constitution, I think.

        Anyway if people were refused entry due to being a divisive figure half the people admitted would be denied entry! God knows a whole lot of people find certain ethnicities or religions divisive so to deny someone entry due to being divisive is a definite slippery slope.

      • disqus_pkrRDJU42M

        I agree. Modern democracies shouldn’t punish people for speaking their mind. They should however punish people for inflicting hurt on other people by not considering what effect their comments would have.

        If I wanted I could go up to any arbitrary ethnic group, start insulting them, and then argue that it’s “just my opinion” and that I’m arguing my right to freedom of speech. However, I would at best be arrested and punished legally for causing pain and suffering on people, and at worst be physically beaten by the people I offended. It’s only common sense to think about what effect words have before you say them. If Mr. Hashimoto doesn’t have that basic common sense, he shouldn’t be in the position he is in.

      • Glen Douglas Brügge

        As far as I know, Japanese don’t need Visas to enter the U?. Well, we all know how it ended. I think denying him the right to travel would have been a poor move on America’s part if it had been an option. Shunning him did far more to shame him than anything else.

    • Perry Constantine

      No, let him go into America. Because if US leaders refuse to meet with him, it’d be an even bigger embarrassment for him.

      • Shanasmiles

        Good point.

      • disqus_pkrRDJU42M

        True, but meeting with him would also allow US leaders to try and explain to him why his way of thinking is archaic and wrong in current times. The best way to engage with someone is to talk with them. If they snub him, he’ll probably just go back to Japan thinking that US leaders are stubborn and small minded, and never knowing the real reason.

      • Christopher Glen

        Reasoning with people like Mr Hashimoto never works.

      • Glen Douglas Brügge

        I doubt “re-educating” him will accomplish anything. The facts are plain to see – any halfwit with a little bit of motivation and an open mind to sniff out the truth. He is a halfwit, but is too stubborn to change his world view. I could only ever see him doing the old “Well, what I really meant,” thing.

    • Andreas K

      Oh Sile, the US military during the occupation believed that comfort women were necessary to stem the tide of rape and STDs. That even led to Japanese women being forced into service.

      Still waiting for US “historians” to acknowledge this. The Australians have done it. Then again, the Aussies are more reasonable people.

      • disqus_pkrRDJU42M

        Interesting point. If that is true (I haven’t personally seen such info), then it would lend credence to his comments. The problem is that current international thinking views rape and other such crimes as abhorrent so while Mr. Hashimoto’s views may have some relevance in such a wartime scenario over 70 years ago, it has no relevance now.

        At one time slavery was acceptable in England and the US, but it’s not acceptable now, and both England and the US consider such times as being “dark times” that are an unfortunate unchangeable fact of history, England and the US learnt from their mistakes, have taken steps to get rid of that system, and atone for such transgressions.

        Mr. Hashimoto’s comments only serve to show that he and all like-minded people have learnt nothing since the time of Japan’s participation in the war and have no place in modern society. Hopefully, the Japanese people will realize that it is such thinking (blinded stubbornness, narrow-mindedness and a lack of compassion or willingness to compromise) that caused Japan to lose the second world war (by forcing the US to drop the nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima), and they’ll either vote to get rid of him, or make him realize his mistake and make him into a better person.

  • “My way of expressing myself was poor”??? Does Hashimoto really believe he could get away with such a lame excuse? If so, how astonishingly naive he is!

  • savorywill

    How is it that Japan is so severely rebuked for the comfort woman issue, to the point that Hashimoto is not welcome to visit the US, but not a word is said about the US dropping two atomic bombs on populated urban areas at that same time (WWII). The school system teaches that the bombing of Hiroshima was necessary to save lives as it expedited Japan’s surrender. That explanation is highly debatable, but how is the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, three days later, explained? How could Japan have surrendered in three days? It seems to be easy to take umbrage at the crimes of others, while ignoring those of our own.

    • Shanasmiles

      Because it wasn’t just about the comfort women. It was the idiotic suggestion that the US Army needs to build brothels to prevent sexual assault. This line of thinking ignores the fact that sexual assault has very little to do with sex and everything to do with power, control, & entitlement. He’s just so ignorant and advocating human rights violations. Furthermore, no one is advocating that the US nuke anyone at the moment so I am afraid your argument is a complete non sequitur. The comment wasn’t an overarching view of the questionable practices of all parties involved in the war in the pacific but a very direct statement about attempting to tame sexual misconduct with prostitution and using the comfort women as his sterling example.

    • Perry Constantine

      Actually, lots of words are said about the US use of atomic weapons. Even in America, there are many people (including myself) who say that it was barbarous and extremely unnecessary. You’re trying to distract from the issue. If someone is arrested for stealing, does saying “well someone else killed a person, why don’t you go after him?” get you off the hook?

      Take his comments outside of the context of WW2. Hashimoto is essentially saying two things. He’s saying 1) that men can’t control themselves and 2) that women are little more than outlets for men’s sexual urges.

      Both these notions should be considered highly offensive to anyone, be you man, woman, Japanese, or American.

      • savorywill

        @Perry, you are right. I do sometimes go off topic because I get infuriated by the way only Japan is expected to constantly apologise for its past wartime aggressions (and I was lumping the ‘comfort women’ comments into those). In my view, the American approach to ending the war by dropping atomic bombs and wanton fire-bombings of the primarily wooden houses of the major cities, resulting in hundreds of thousands of casualties, was, as you said, “barbarous and unnecessary”. Certainly, an apology from the United States is appropriate for having done this.

  • martaz

    Bring it on Hashimoto! I hope you are allowed entry into the US. You will not believe the amount of people who will assemble in San Francisco to protest your despicable views–INCLUDING Japanese Americans. You are a disgrace to Japan. I hope that the citizens of Osaka vote you out of office ASAP

    • Masa Chekov

      I certainly don’t disagree with your feelings on Hashimoto, but I wonder what “including Japanese Americans” has to do with anything.

      • trueamerican2012

        Probably because Japanese Americans are actually taught about the horrors committed by the Japanese during World War II, unlike in Japan, where their wartime atrocities are barely mentioned in school, if ever.

      • Masa Chekov

        True American, are Americans actually taught about the horrors committed by the US in WWII? I would bet it’s highly unlikely. There were plenty of war crimes committed by US troops and even as a matter of US policy, yet how often to you hear Americans express remorse over their country’s actions?

      • trueamerican2012

        Yes, actually we are. I remember specifically the pictures of children burned by napalm in my high school history textbooks. Unlike the Japanese, we acknowledge that our country isn’t perfect. For your info, war crimes in WW2 were considered to be anything the allies didn’t do, and it has been the same since. American soldiers are routinely tried and convicted of behavior that is not in keeping with the Geneva Conventions. In addition, I would suggest you talk to more Americans. It’s obvious you have never had a sincere discussion with any American about what is happening in the world today.

      • Masa Chekov

        Really? How many Americans even know about the mass slaughter of civilians in Dresden or Tokyo or North Korea, let alone consider those acts war crimes? Because surely they are, much as the US accuses those like Hussein or Assad of war crimes for indiscriminate slaughter of civilian populations.

        I know quite literally thousands of Americans, bud. I’m well aware that most Americans are very, very loathe to criticize the actions of the military brass, or military policy, or individual soldiers. Heck, you get people defending that murderer who killed Afghani women and kids in their sleep a few years back.

      • martaz

        I believe most Japanese Americans would be offended by his statements. The ones I know certainly are.

    • Owen

      I think he just picked a wrong topic. This topic should have been dealt with great sympathy and empathy.
      I heard this interview in Japanese in full, yes he sounded little too light about it.

      He is more concerned how Japan was called “Rapist” from other countries when other countries were using sex slaves to sooth men’s libidos during War, was his major point.

      He wanted to say “Why always Japan? We are not rapist, we need to speak out loud when the truth was manipulated”

      Could all the Media, would you please translate what he actually said in what he actually meant?
      I see this a lot media manipulation, deliberately twisted a truth.

      I found full interview in Japanese here. I hope my comment will stay here.

      • martaz

        He denied that women were FORCED to be prostitutes. which is an absolute lie. There is massive documentation that Korean and Chinese women were used as sex slaves and many died from their physical injuries, and many survivors committed suicide. so if YOU don’t consider that rape, I’m glad I don’t know you. Though I think its sad when women willingly become prostitutes, it is their life and I I don’t have a problem with it. But FORCING women IS rape.

      • Owen

        Well Mr Hashimoto DID NOT deny that. In some case women was forced to be so, he actually admitted it and made an apology too. Hope my reply this time will reach you martaz.

      • Christopher Glen

        You miss the whole point. Other countries used prostitutes, yes. Other countries raped women, yes. In some cases on a massive scale. But they did not coerce thousands of women into sexual slavery like Japan did

      • Owen

        I do not know about that.Why can you actually say the other country did not do like Japan did? Japan often become the first one to be singled out and gets blamed was Mr Hashimoto’s point. Yes Japan lost war so, most Japanese media admits that is a piece of disadvantages of it too.

      • JANG HUN Joo

        That because man like Mr. Hasimoto used to say like insane human being. If his own parent or siblings had been victim of sex-slave during another country’s war, could he comment like that?

  • Ron NJ

    Instead of saying what he didn’t mean by using the word fuzoku, he should explain what he DID mean – what does he believe fuzoku to include? Does it include the fellatio bars? The topless momi-hodai joints? What about the “massa-ji” pulls? Is he suggesting the military start queuing up for soaplands? Foreigners can’t even get into a great number of these establishments unless they start passing local (or, dare I say it, national?) anti-discrimination laws.

    Anyways, one of the fundamental problems with his remarks, ignoring the sex slaves issue for a moment, is that nobody wants to admit (or define) just what fuzoku is, though apparently we’ve established that it’s ‘not prostitution’. Go figure.

    • Masa Chekov

      For what it’s worth, the vast majority of fuzoku joints don’t ban foreigners, you just need to speak Japanese to get in. Which is reasonable.

      • Ron NJ

        Which wouldn’t be a problem if people were even given the chance to prove themselves instead of just being batsu-hands’d at first sight – thus you can’t really take such a standpoint.
        “You can get in if you pass the test” doesn’t work if you don’t let people actually “take the test”, if you see where I’m going with this.

      • Masa Chekov

        If you get “batsu-hands” you just tell them you speak Japanese. Simple.

        That’s how you prove yourself.

      • $35222035

        …which just means that they tell you to bugger off in Japanese, instead of the standard, “Soh-lee…Jyapa-neezu ohn-rhee!”

      • Ron NJ

        I’ve had them say “sabetsu janai, tada japani-zu onri-” and then turn their backs on me before when trying to get in places.

      • Eoghan Hughes

        Wow. Maybe Japanese water shops don’t want to let you in because of your horribly offensive racial stereotyping? I don’t understand how discriminating against obvious racists like yourself can be called racist…

      • Ron NJ

        Clearly you’ve never tried that approach or you’d know that it doesn’t work.

      • Masa Chekov

        Clearly you haven’t else you’d know it does.

        I haven’t been refused service anywhere since I learned how to speak Japanese decently.

      • Ron NJ

        It’s clear you’re too blinkered to even bother to look at things rationally so we’ll just have to agree to disagree, it appears.

      • Masa Chekov

        Please explain to me how I am not looking at things rationally. In my experience, I have not been denied access anywhere due to being a foreigner. Several times they have initially refused me because I was a foreigner but once I demonstrated I could communicate there was no problem letting me in.

        Explain how this is an irrational thought, please.

    • Perry Constantine

      Exactly. The whole mizu-shobai industry operates in an extremely shady area of legality, where they take advantage of loopholes like “well we’re not SAYING they have to have sex with their customers, if that happens it’s an arrangement between them.” Not to mention that there’s quite a lot of human trafficking that goes on in that industry and to pretend there’s not shows incredible stupidity on Hashimoto’s part.

  • Classic and Agree with you Hashimoto.

  • To the Americans attacking Hashimoto Comments … History Lesson 101.

    Secret wartime files made public only in 2006 reveal that American GIs committed 400 sexual offences in Europe, including 126 rapes in England, between 1942 and 1945.

    A study by Robert J. Lilly estimates that a total of 14,000 civilian women in England, France and Germany were raped by American GIs during World War II.

    It is estimated that there were around 3,500 rapes by American servicemen in France between June 1944 and the end of the war and one historian has claimed that sexual violence against women in liberated France was common.

    There were also 1,336 reported rapes during the first 10 days of the occupation of Kanagawa prefecture after the Japanese surrender.

    Peter Schrijvers finds it remarkable that looking Asian was enough to be in danger of rape by American soldiers, as for example happened to some of the Korean comfort womenthat the Japanese had by force brought to the island. Schrijvers writes that “many women” were brutally violated with “not even the least mercy”.

    Marching south, men of the 4th Marines passed a group of some 10 American soldiers bunched together in a tight circle next to the road. They were ‘quite animated,’ noted a corporal who assumed they were playing a game of craps. ‘Then as we passed them,’ said the shocked marine, ‘I could see they were taking turns raping an oriental woman. I was furious, but our outfit kept marching by as though nothing unusual was going on.

    • Ron NJ

      A repost but relevant:
      Tu quoque (pron.: /tuːˈkwoʊkwiː/),[1] (Latin for “you, too” or “you, also”) or the appeal to hypocrisy, is a logical fallacy that attempts to discredit the opponent’s position by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with that position; it attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. This dismisses someone’s point of view based on criticism of the person’s inconsistency, and not the position presented,[2] whereas a person’s inconsistency should not discredit their position. Thus, it is a form of the ad hominem argument.[3] To clarify, although the person being attacked might indeed be acting inconsistently or hypocritically, this does not invalidate their argument.

      In other words “You did it too!” isn’t a valid argument.

      • The mentality of “We did and it’s OK, but you did, so you are bad and a criminal” show you are nothing more than a hypocrite!

    • Perry Constantine

      So your justification for rape is “well other people do it, too”? That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s wrong no matter WHERE it happens.

      • No, I just find it FUNNY that so many are attacking the Japanese for what the US and the Allies were also doing.

        Attacking Japan and Japanese for forcing women in to being sex slaves while your forces raped over 20,000 women is showing you are nothing more then a hypocrite

      • Perry Constantine

        My forces?

        Buddy, my family lived in Europe until the 1950s. No one in my family had anything whatsoever to do with America’s involvement in WW2. So casting blame on me for something that no one in my family was involved with and something that I have long condemned America for is about as shoddy of an argument as you can get.

        Stop pettifogging. The issue here is Hashimoto’s views. It’s only hypocritical if I made excuses for the behavior of American forces. I have not, nor have I ever, made excuses for the American military. Go ahead and read my posts if you don’t believe me. Point out where I made any excuse.

        If we can only criticize people by also criticizing everyone else who has ever done something similar, then every single comment would need to be the length of an encyclopedia.

      • You cannot say Japan is Bad when US forces were doing the same thing.

      • Frank Bennett

        Why not? If this is your best response, it’s probably best to concede. As Perry Constantine has explained with great patience to you, an argument from moral equivalence (e.g. “American soldiers rape people too!”) isn’t persuasive. It just isn’t.

        If you already believe something strongly (that Toru Hashimoto is a trustworthy and respected role model, for example) then arguing from moral equivalence gives you something to say. But to someone who actually disagrees with you (and whom you therefore need to persuade), it comes across as school-yard name-calling. Because that’s basically all it amounts to.

      • Tomoki Kato

        I don’t know about 紫暮龍誉’s view, but what Hashimoto is saying repeatedly in his Twitter and elsewhere is, in short, “we were wrong, and we need to apologize, but other countries did the same thing. Why do they accuse only Japan, and overlook what they have done. All countries should look sincerely at what happened no matter WHERE it happened.”
        His comments are largely misunderstood through bad translation.

      • Shanasmiles

        Oddly enough, people DO look at these things outside of Japan. Frequently. He just happened to insert his foot in his mouth and draw the world’s attention on himself. Don’t worry, his bruised ego will heal. Certainly there will be other inarticulate cads spouting despicable drivel and they will gain the spotlight.

      • Tomoki Kato

        Then give me some examples in which the U.S. (or another country’s) government or politicians apologize to Japanese women who were raped by the Americans (or other people) or sexually served for them?
        There are many apologies from the Japanese government or politicians on the issue. But I’ve never heard from the American counterparts, so please let me know.

      • Perry Constantine

        Why don’t you try actually reading what I wrote before commenting? Not once have I made a single excuse for anything America has done.


        Do you understand? I’m talking about Hashimoto’s stance of moral equivalence. I’m talking about Hashimoto’s view that men need to be sexually serviced and that women are nothing more than objects for men to get their rocks off.

        Absolutely, America should apologize for the atrocities of the military, from rape all the way up to and including the use of the atomic bomb.

        But that’s not what we’re talking about. You’re trying to pettifog the issue and act as if there’s nothing wrong with Hashimoto’s disgusting views because “other people do it, too.”

        Moral equivalence is never justification. Not now, not ever. As my kindergarten teacher told me when I tried to use the “but he did it, too!” excuse, “I’m not talking about him, I’ll deal with him later. I’m talking about you.”

      • Owen

        I agree. If you watch it in Japanese,his point was not there.
        Manipulation by media translation as usual.

      • Perry Constantine

        Apparently I have to spell this out, because now people are twisting MY words:

        IT. IS. NEVER. OKAY.

        Are we clear on that? It is never okay. Not when the Japanese do it, not when the Americans do it, not when the British do it, not when the Germans do it, not when the French do it, not when the Chinese do it, not when the Russians do it, not when anyone does it. It is never okay.

        Understand? Never. Regardless of what nationality you are, regardless of what country you’re in, regardless of whether or not you’re in the military. It is never okay.

        It is rape. It is a vile, disgusting, CRIMINAL act that should never be endorsed or covered up, no matter WHAT the circumstances.

        Beyond the comfort women issue, Hashimoto’s view is that it is totally okay for men to objectify and subjugate women. He’s saying that men can’t control their sexual urges and that is just flat-out misogynistic nonsense. When anyone—be they in the military or not—commits a sexual offense, they deserve severe punishment. Hashimoto’s comments provide cover, provide an excuse.

        Yes, rape happens in the military. Not only with the locals, but within the military itself. Yes, servicemembers can be total scoundrels. BUT IT IS NEVER OKAY! Statements like Hashimoto’s only serve to exacerbate these problems, because it basically boils down to the same old “boys will be boys” excuse. It provides cover not only for the military to shrug off the problems within their own culture and structure, but also for the criminals who engage in the human slave trade industry, and if you think for a second that the 水商売 doesn’t deal in sexual slavery, then you are either incredibly naive or willfully ignorant.

      • Sex trade worker’s don’t need to be stereotyped as objectified or subjugated either many are liberated as a result of their new found economic and sexual freedom. I have never met a prostitute that didn’t CHOOSE her client but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

      • Eoghan Hughes

        Of course it is. That’s why Americans whose country STILL invades other countries on belligerent pretences and whose soldiers STILL engage in grotesque sexual crimes in those countries, shouldn’t be claiming that Japan is in some way “worse”.

    • KenjiAd

      Hashimoto is not being criticized for merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the ex-Allied countries who he and others claim had done the same (military prostitution and abuse).

      Instead, he actually justified Japan’s setting-up of military brothels by claiming, in effect, that there was a certain benefit for those inhumane facilities. He perhaps inadvertently furthered this point by suggesting to the US commander in Okinawa that the Marines should utilize more of Japan’s sex industry services.

      Thus what we are witnessing is NOT an iconoclastic, politically-incorrect straight talker, a hat that Hashimoto loves to wear. Instead, what we are seeing is a man who harbors an anachronistic view of women and doesn’t realize it.

      If he was just a grumpy old man who drank too much, no one would care. But the fact that he is a mayor of the second biggest city of Japan, makes it a big deal. We (I’m a Japanese guy) certainly don;t want him to represent us.

  • JTCommentor

    Nobody likes Hashimoto, but its hard to deny that he has been good for Osaka. He has cleaned Osaka up a lot, and still has valuable work left to do there. His comments are silly, but the emotional responses calling for him to be voted out ignore the practical implications of what he has done, and what he has planned. You dont need to like the man to appreciate his work.

    But many politicians have extreme views on certain issues, the difference with them is that they are well coached enough to keep their mouths shut – they are good at politics. Hashimoto should keep his mouth shut, and leave the results of his policies in his local government to speak for themselves. . . But it seems he doesnt know how to do that.

    • I’m sorry to tell you this, but it is clear that Hashimoto has been doing everything wrong for Osaka and Japan. It’s time for everyone to realize this.

      • JTCommentor

        Can you give some examples of what he has done wrong in Osaka?

  • Attachmate

    Japan needs a “Baka-Yaro” like Hashimoto to highlight to citizens are getting it good with current government.

  • Guest

    I think he just picked a wrong topic. This topic should have been dealt with great sympathy and empathy.

    I heard this interview in Japanese in full, yes he sounded little too light about it.

    He is more concerned how Japan was called “Rapist” from other countries when other countries were using sex slaves to sooth men’s libidos at that time during War.That was his major point.He wanted to say “Why always Japan? We are not rapist, we need to speak out loud when the truth was manipulated”

    Could all the Media, would you please translate what he actually said in what he actually meant?

    I see this a lot media manipulation, deliberately twisted a truth.

    I found full interview in Japanese here. I hope my comment will stay here.

    • Perry Constantine

      “He did it, too!” didn’t work as an excuse when I was a child. Why is it acceptable for nations?

  • Maranyika

    People misspoke every time!! cut the guy a slack what happened during the war was unfortunate and should not be repeated having said that, lets move on there are more important issues affecting mankind like incurable diseases, hunger and unnecessary wars which should take the first priority than what Hashimoto said or did not say. Who ever have not sinned let him/her cast the first stone said Jesus.

  • Takahiro Katsumi

    I’m sorry. According to the State Department records, the briefing was held in Washington and not in Japan.It was done by Jen Psaki, the Spokesperson and she mentioned “As the U.S. has previously stated, what happened in that era to these women who were trafficked for sexual purposes is deplorable, and a grave human rights violation of enormous proportions,” <–this. There is no official record of Psaki “We understand Hashimoto is planning to travel to the U.S. We are not sure that anybody will want to meet him.”<–this. Could you clarify who in Japan said this. This shouldn't remain anonymous anymore since the State Department already made a clear statement.

  • Hashimoto, Step Down Right Now!

  • Santosh Pandey

    Come on World. Hashimoto just made a statement and that too was related to an event happened some 70 years before. Keep in mind that In 1940s the world order and situation was not like today. Hence, to understand the history we must have to evaluate any event while considering the situations prevailing at those times. In this regard, Please remember that right to vote were given to females only in 1920s & 30s in the world oldest democracies i.e. US & UK and that too while imposing many limitations. So, which nations cares about Women in that times up to what extent..we all know that. Moreover, Hashimoto never justified the use of comfort women. He does not ask for its repetition. I think, Hashimoto is being condemned only because the Japan was a defeated party in the World War II otherwise the situation would have been different. We all knows that no one dares to criticize the human rights violations of Victorious Nations. We are constantly watching it even today.

    • Perry Constantine

      You’re focusing on one part and ignoring how he said that soldiers in Okinawa should be allowed to use brothels. He absolutely IS justifying the use of the sex trade. He’s promoting a culture of misogyny and rape.

  • Landers

    Sex slavery is an evil, vile sin. We can all agree. But what is the US State Dept. doing grandstanding on the Mayor of Osaka?

    Jen Psaki — a former Obama Campaign Press Sec. (now State Dept. spokesperson, naturally…) — is dumping all over the guy in the press. Her shrill denunciations have nothing to do with the mission of the US Dept. of State.

    Maybe look into Benghazi, Jen. Do something useful.

  • this is coming from a country that doesnt fire people for beating up their wives (foreign ministry official in san francisco) allows news anchors to molest girls on trains and not get fired nor fined nor jailed. Not surprised. WAKE UP JAPAN. the rest of the world has moved on from the 16th century. I’m ashamed to carry around a red passport that declares me a citizen of Japan.

    • JTCommentor

      Clearly not all of the world has adopted “innocent until proven guilty” – are you referring to the new anchor who had a claim made against him, which was ultimately found to be baseless and then it was dropped?

  • Japan also has to examine itself.

  • Many people are really just sweeping the real issue under the rug, its not who did it in the past, in which country. Its about the alarming fact that, a “previously distinguished” member of public society, whom most people would reasonably expect a certain level of intellect and decorum laughing the face of the efforts of thousands of people all over the world working towards changing the role of women in society as just that, “comfort women”. People do not know the horrors of being forced, blackmailed, abducted or plainly not having any other choice than to enter into the sex industry. Young women all over African and the world face a constant barrage of catcalls, rude sexual comment, indecent assaults, kidnappings, prostitution and all this because each and every day the boy child grows up hearing the same damn comment everyday. And everybody laughs it off as boys will be boys until the same boy is responsible for organised prostitution rings, rapes, assaults,mass ethnic cleansing(genocide) and sex slavery. So before you say but they did it too wonder who they did it to and that it could possibly be your sister, mother, cousin or niece and by some twisted turn of fate YOU.
    People need to think before the speak moreso if your words are likely to influence public policy and society. The slight remark could lead to catastrophic results, possibly the death of someone or thousands(Kenyan witch lynching, RSA xenophobic attacks, rwanda genocide).
    Hashimoto didnt make an unfortunate remark and its not about the historical background of it. He plainly make a crass, derogatory remark that does not befit a man of his stature and calibre in this day and age. He should apologise to the multitudes of GBV women victims and the activists working to remove women from the sex industry,him saying “but u did it too” is just bad taste. Would have expected more from a national of a country i love, only second to my own.

  • Red Kloud

    Japan’s government organized and sponsored a massive network of sex slaves for their soldiers to rape. No country in modern history has condoned, let alone sponsored and directly organized a network that promoted the wholesale rape of women by their troops. Rapes by individual soldiers are not comparable to what Japan’s government was guilty of and to argue such a thing is a classic red herring. So really all of you who are defending Hashimoto’s disgusting rhetoric aren’t fooling anyone. America’s gov, South Korea’s gov (and every other nation for that matter) have never organized or sponsored a network of brothels filled with sex slaves that were threatened with death if they didn’t comply or tried to escape. To say these countries are just as guilty as Japan is a fallacious argument. Individual soldiers raping and pillaging during war has always and always will happen. A government that directly promotes and organizes the systematic rape of hundreds of thousands of women is a whole another level of evil that Japan and Japan alone is guilty of.

  • Andreas K

    I have an idea.

    Anyone who doesn’t have a degree in East Asian history, Japanese/Korea/Chinese Studies or similar should do one thing: shut up.

    Your opinion is irrelevant. You are not an expert on the topic, whatever you say comes from highly biased media, usually wikipedia or what passes in the US as “education system”.

    • Masa Chekov

      That is a quite arrogant thing to say. History degrees are largely useless and schooling is just as subject to bias as anything coming from the media.

      Having a degree in a topic doesn’t make you an expert in anything except staying in school long enough to earn the required credits to graduate. It’s not exactly a tall barrier to entry.

      And why would you assume those of us reading a Japanese newspaper in Japan were educated in the US?