• Kyodo

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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.

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