Hashimoto now blames public for misreading him, snubs press


Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) coleader Toru Hashimoto, the Osaka mayor in hot water for apparently trying to justify Japan’s wartime sex slaves, said Friday that the public’s “lack of reading comprehension” has caused the current situation in which his remarks have been “misunderstood.”

The embattled outspoken politician also said he will shut out the media from any reporting opportunities except for his official news conferences.

Facing reporters at City Hall in the evening, Hashimoto blamed the media for perpetrating “big misreporting,” without delving into specifics. He stressed that he has never endorsed Japan’s wartime military brothel system but said his remarks have been taken to suggest otherwise.

“I hope people will have the ability to read and understand (my remarks),” he said.

Hashimoto tried to counter U.S. criticism against his sex-slave remarks by saying U.S. servicemen used Japanese women as an easy outlet for their sexual desires while Japan was occupied after its defeat in the war.

“I think the U.S. should look at what it did,” he said.

Touching on the infringement of women’s human rights, Hashimoto pointed out that Britain, France, Germany and South Korea are in no position to blame others. He didn’t elaborate.

  • 武 東郷

    “I think the U.S. should look at what it did,” he said.

    Touching on the infringement of women’s human rights, Hashimoto pointed out that Britain, France, Germany and South Korea are in no position to blame others. He didn’t elaborate.

    This will help understand what he meant.

    • guy-jin

      I don’t understand… please elaborate!

  • Simon Foston

    He just keeps digging that hole deeper and deeper, doesn’t he? I wonder if Japanese politicians have been told they need to be straightforward and honest, and take it to mean they should just say whatever diseased, deluded garbage is going through their heads. He’ll be telling us all about his daily bowel movements next.

  • Perry Constantine

    Moral equivalency is not an acceptable excuse. Never has been, never will be.

  • LostInTranslation

    Now he blamed the whole world for not being smart enough to understand his statement. ALL media attempted to mis-interpret his statements? I don’t think so.
    This again how irresponsible and arrogant he is. I can’t imagine how Japan will become if this country is led by a guy like him. It is true that Japan is leading the world in many areas, mostly in technology or food industry. However, having lived in this country for more than 8 years, I would say that while most people are indeed innocent and peaceful, they really don’t have much of a sense to judge politician. My experience suggests that what people here mostly care is whether or not one can act funny, or graduate from a famous university, or have a good looking face. Moral standard is rather less of a concern. I’ll give an example. A former comedian, named Higashikokubaru, was sentenced to jail for attacking the office of a magazine company and was also found to be a customer of a sexual place involving underage girls. But afterall, this guy was elected to be the governor of Miyaki prefecture. I cannot imagine how this is possible in a country like USA or most well developed countries.

    I believe Japan can make improvement in his people only through a more open and international education. But certainly, the current government officers do not go this way as they are all stone-aged minded and only want to keep the so-called Japanese pride.

    I strongly urge as much as possible the people in the US give Hashimoto a lesson when he visits San Francisco this year and show him how un-welcome he is.

  • takagi

    What strikes me is the complete lack of imagination that he so shamelessly reveals to the whole world… As a college student in Japan, the impression I got from the papers and TV interviews is that he is actually proud of saying some “truth” that nobody else would dare say out loud, and his party followers support him on that basis. The stupidity of the whole business just astonishes me.

    The fact is that he, being a man, obviously can never understand a woman’s pain, physical or emotional, and he does not realize it. He does not realize the egocentricity deep in his soul. And that is what I mean by “lack of imagination.” America and the international world are outraged since he implied that 1) US soldiers would sleep with anybody including prostitutes, and 2) all women are there primarily for the purpose of “comforting” men. Strangely, he does not even seem aware that his own words have been taken this way. Shocking lack of imagination. It’s a joke that he should blame “the lack of reading comprehension” on the public’s part!

    But not just him. There are too many old, male politicians who do not even realize that other groups of people have different feelings toward things. I’d say they are spoiled, so spoiled that they go so far to call their own people illiterate fools. Time we start punishing them a bit, perhaps.

    • KenjiAd

      Very good post. As one of the older Japanese guy (I’m 53), I’m encouraged by the fact that there are young Japanese people like yourself. Impressed by your excellent command of English, too. :-)

      • takagi

        Thank you, KenjiAd.

    • Haebin Chae

      Thank you for your comment.Im also impressed by your comment. Glad to know that there are actually people like you. :-)

  • Smokey Snaps

    So it’s the media’s fault for reporting the comments and the public’s fault for not being able to read them properly? Oh, and let’s chuck a few other country names in to confuse things further . . . Everyone is to blame except for Hashimoto, then? Glad he’s cleared that up.

  • His comments weren’t misread – the problem was that they were read at all!
    An incompetent man like this should not be in politics and in many other countries if he had made these sorts of comments he would probably have had to resign.
    But now, he can continue to spew derogatory comments about women, foreign countries, war crimes and so on in ‘private’ (well, to many people but without press reporting it) where the press and public cannot outcry against his comments?
    Not a good day for Japan.

  • Takahiro Katsumi

    I guess time is ripe to translate his ENTIRE statement which could be found here provided by a third party. All Japan Obachan’s Party have attempted to translate just a few of his major comments (in nine languages no less) but these are his EXACT words, word by word, and the world who has been labeled as ‘not being smart enough’ should now know the whole truth to prove him wrong. http://synodos.jp/politics/3894

    • Owen

      This needs to be translated in English…

  • “I think the U.S. should look at what it did,” Hashimoto said.

    Give the guy a MEDAL!

    The US military in Japan still goes about raping women every now and then and what happens they just get a slap on the wrist.

    The guy is 100% Correct, others cannot say “Japan is Bad for sex slaves” while their military forces were out raping and killing women … and still doing it now days.

    Just look at the Iraq War, the biggest case was the US soldier who raped a 14 year old girl and kill her and her whole family, go read about the case on the net.

    Japanese Military stopped raping women at the end of WWII, the US military did it in WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, both Iraq Wars, Afghanistan War.

    Even on shore leave in Australia a few US military guys have been arrested for raping Australian women, they rape women where ever they go and then have the nerve to say Japan is bad for its actions in WWII, give me a break, talk about bloody hypocrites.

    The US should look at what it did and is still doing in 2013!

    • Takahiro Katsumi

      >Japanese Military stopped raping women “at the end of WWII”

      Do you mean they raped ‘throughout the war’? Thanks for acknowledging that.

      I think the nationalist Japanese should wake up and also grow up to learn that nothing is justified by comparing with the others, and that it doesn’t make a valid or convincing argument at all, at least not internationally.

      If they learned to just state the truth and shut up elsewhere, I think the world will feel more humble to listen to what you have to say. It’s the approach that’s wrong, offensive, and unproductive, not necessarily what you claim–although this is up to the bilateral expert group to decide. No amateur can dig deep enough to know what went on in history without ample resources.

      • You seem to be stuck on just “Japanese rape of women in WWII”

        NEWS FLASH – the Nazi’s did it, the Americans did it, the Chinese did it, the Australians did it, the British did it, but everyone just keeps bashing Japan about doing it. Why is that?

        The US military is still raping women in Japan and around the world, but spineless people refuse to accept the fact and keep on there narrow minded path of ‘Japan is bad’ for what it did close to 70 years ago.

        I did not see anyone upset about the rape of Japanese women and children by US military based here in Japan, there was 3 rapes this year I believe but not a sound out of the people who are now screaming their heads off about Hashimoto comments and the rights of women.

        State the truth you say.

        OK Truth

        Rape was done by all military forces during WWII … FACT!

        The US, China, Korea, Australia, Germany etc were just as bad as Japan when it came to the treatment of women during WWII … FACT!

        Japanese women and children are still being raped by US forces in Japan 68 years after the end of WWII … FACT!

        Maybe if spineless people started looking in to the true history of the events that took place during WWII and all the wars since they may learn Japan is not as bad as they make out, in fact Japanese have been angles since the end of WWII while others are been carrying on their mass murder and rape of civilians until this day.

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        State the truth about Japan only, and only within the time frame of WWII, without any reference to other countries.

      • What you offend about the truth of others in WWII? Only want to bash Japan for what Japan did, while sugar coating the war crimes other nations did.. Sure you are not Korean or Chinese maybe and just using a Japanese Name?

      • Takahiro Katsumi

        Now that’s what’s wrong with you nationalists. You taint people so easily just by judging on their objective opinion while demanding your subjective opinion to be accepted. The objective fact is this: Japanese nation as a whole admitted its crime, responsibility of war, and conduct during the war and accepted the sentences of the Tokyo War Tribunal in a legally binding international agreement (1951). With recognition of this agreement, the Government of Japan has issued two official statements repenting about the war and its conduct in the war, the so-called Kono Statement (1993) and Murayama Statement (1995). Eversince these two statements were released, the Government has upheld it and even the First and now Second Abe Administration (a Cabinet Decision was made in 5/24 to uphold the Kono Statement in light of new evidence found from the Dutch public archives.) Here’s my full translation of an article dealing with this fact. https://www.evernote.com/shard/s80/sh/0ddd3f28-52d7-4018-ba30-bcc5856faf0f/2e0be5065e883bccd517ea7225942d8c

        So our Government officially admits and have continued to admit that forced acts concerning comfort women indeed did take place, not just in Korea but elsewhere as well. So now you get it. I’m only being an objective Japanese in contrast to your comparative evasion from the facts by bringing out the others who were not subject to legal scrutiny at the time because they were victors. But face the reality. We faced a legal judgment by the victors, and no matter how problematic the nature of these judgments were (e.g. retroactive laws), we accepted it and in return were granted sovereignty and return to the international community. You can’t reverse this, unless you are willing to fight another global war to redeem what has been lost. And that’s completely insane.

    • guy-jin

      What about Hashimoto’s colleague’s remarks about South Korean prostitutes?
      Is Hashimoto angry because they are stealing work from Japanese prostitutes?

    • TokyoStory

      The fundamental point that you have obviously missed is that it was OFFICIAL JAPANESE STATE/MILITARY POLICY to forcibly take women in occupied countries and make them sexual slaves in organized brothels. Of course other countries’ soldiers have randomly raped women throughout history–that is a tragic dark side of young martial male behavior it seems. This should not be used as an excuse for official, organized policy, though.

      However, you need to understand that Hashimoto is trying to say that the OFFICIAL WWII Sexual Slavery system of the Imperial Japanese military was natural and defensible because: 1) other countries’ soldiers have raped women, and 2) military men naturally need sexual slaves and/or prostitutes in order to maintain discipline.

      One obvious difference with the Okinawan sex industry is that these women do have the choice of whether or not to work as paid prostitutes. **The Korean (and other) Sex Slaves during WWII had NO CHOICE. There is a HUGE difference between a state/official organized policy of forced prostitution vs. individual soldiers behaving horribly.

      It is silly and ridiculous to try and excuse one’s reprehensible official policy by simply saying, “But, but, but, look at *Country A, B, or C*’s soldiers! They rape too! See? How can you say what we did was bad?”

    • MoonChild02

      So the entire United States Armed Forces are to be blamed for the actions of a very few? The US military did not sanction these actions as the Japanese military did during World War II. There’s the whole issue of the fact that those who are convicted of these actions are dishonorably discharged, or, worse, put in the brig. In other words, the military punishes these criminals and makes sure that they serve time as punishment for their crimes. The US military does not support or condone any of these crimes being committed.

  • YO-YO

    In the context, what he said are seemed absurd. But he did’t say anything wrong. The main points Hasimoto said are

    1 In the WW2 time, actually army needed and used women in the world. It is no doubt without making excuse. It wil have to be never happened in the future. So, Japan and Every country involving the war have to apologize. Not only Japan.

    2 Okinawa women are frightened US soldiers’s rape. Because so far many women are raped by US soldiers including very young girls. To avoid this sad cases He suggest sex establishments.

    And this suggestion is not official, we have to think about WW2’s act and this suggestion separately. Sex Establisnment is not wrong thing. Think about real circumstances.
    MAYBE he don’t have to said that things as a politician. However I feel strange about media’s exaggeration.

    • guy-jin

      Nice to hear “netouyo” response in English! What a treat! Please, tell us more! This is comedy gold!

  • Haebin Chae

    i am very terrified at some ignorant comments that few people are making here.
    In fact, Japanese government had held emansive size of sexual slave systematically during times of World War II, giving tremendous suffering and pains to the victims and the victims of family. All those women were literally kidnapped, forced to serve as a sexual slaves.
    Some of what ignorant and immoral comments are making is this- other countries during world war II, too also have raped women during war time so not only Japan is responsible of crime of past- having sexual slaves. The fact that Japanse government should recognize is this. This crime of War time is not ran by indivdual but wholly by government.And still Japanse government has not apologized to those victims of sexual slaves properly.
    As a female student of Korea, I feel really sad about this kind of situation and also feel sick toward immoral and unjust speech that some japanse politcians are making. Since ive been to the museum that comemorate the victims of sexual slaves and how those women lived their life through seeing their artwork what had happen to them and their stories, this kinds of immoral speech or comment feels like tearing my heart. This surely would have gave suffering again to those alive victims of sexual slave.

  • Takahiro Katsumi

    Guys, here’s the full translation of two daily press briefings that took place on May 13, held by Osaka City featuring Q&A session with Mayor Hashimoto on definition of aggression, comfort women, and sex crimes in Okinawa. Enjoy and spread them.

    Morning briefing: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=494143423972740
    Afternoon briefing: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=494534453933637