Hashimoto fires back, pins outcry on media


Osaka Mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) coleader Toru Hashimoto Saturday defended his remarks on Japan’s wartime sex slave system and criticized media outlets for running misleading reports.

On a TV program, Hashimoto said he would not tolerate forcing women into such services. Earlier in the week, he came under a barrage of criticism for saying the “comfort women” system was necessary during the war.

“I meant that countries around the world thought at the time that comfort women were necessary. The subject (of the sentence) is not I,” he said, blaming the media for issuing partial or misleading reports.

Hashimoto repeated that he didn’t intend to encourage prostitution when he urged U.S. servicemen in Okinawa to make use of the legal sex parlors there.

While U.S. officials have also rapped Hashimoto for the remarks, the outspoken politician stated that “the United States is not facing up to its own history.”

“I want them to have genuine discussions about controlling sexual energy,” he added.

On Friday, Hashimoto told the press that the public’s “lack of reading comprehension” has caused his remarks to be “misunderstood.”

The embattled 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 Okinawa women as an easy outlet for their sexual desires while the prefecture was occupied after the war.

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

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

Activists seek U.N. action


Activists on Friday criticized Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) coleader Toru Hashimoto’s recent remarks supporting wartime and peacetime sexual services for soldiers and urged a United Nations rights panel to take up the issue when it opens its review of Japan next week.

The activists, including those from the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace and from Amnesty International, expressed their views at a meeting with experts from the Committee against Torture, which is mandated under a U.N. human rights convention and was established in 1988.

  • KenjiAd

    Clearly Hashimoto is desperately trying to weasel out of the sinking hole, by playing with semantics, specifically by relaying on the fact that subject pronouns (like ‘I’ or ‘they’) are often omitted in Japanese sentences.

    Good try, but he doesn’t understand one thing. No native speakers of Japanese language, nor professional translator, would actually agree with his retro-interpretation of what he said.

    He would have gained more respect if he had stuck with what everyone knows he really meant – “ianfu” was necessary. He is wrong of course but would have been consistent.

    Now he is finally revealing what he really is – a calculating Machiavellic politician who has carefully cultivated his image as a straight-talker, because that’s what sells in local politics. In reality, he is a rather pathetic Narcissist who doesn’t have any understanding whatsoever of Japan’s history, human rights, or international politics.

  • I think it is time Hashimoto put a sock in it.

  • I hope these Activists also gets the UN to look at the continue rape of women by US forces since the end of WWII.

    • KenjiAd

      Pointing out someone’s hypocrisy is one thing. Admitting one’s wrong-doing is another.

      Now if you mix these together (i.e., “What I did may be wrong, but xxx was also doing it. Why you just punish me?”), viola! no one thinks your admittance of guilt is sincere. And that’s what’s happening.

  • norm

    He has some VERY good points

  • (*´ω`*)

    There is a difference between comfort women and 慰安婦(which would be translated as comfort women.) Comfort women means women who were forced to become sex slave. But 慰安婦 means whore (who were not forced). Hashimoto said 慰安婦 was necessary at that time in order to avoid rape of local women. And also he said that it was a tragedy. But through translation meaning has changed. Many reports that Hahimoto said forcing women to become sex slave was necessary(as like CNN reported). That is why many people who can’t read Japanese regard Hashimoto as crazy guy and cannot understand why there are some people who supports Hashimoto. One more time. He never said sex slave was necessary.

    • Mark Garrett

      I think you’re missing what really got people so upset. It’s not whether he condoned it or not, it’s that he doesn’t acknowledge that it was forced, which you explained quite well. This is what has gotten the Koreans and women’s groups so infuriated. In his mind the women prostituted of their own free accord which is complete hogwash.

      • (*´ω`*)

        I see. I understand what you are saying.
        Many foreigners thinks that 20,000 women become sex slave and it has hard evidence. Therefore many are angry about what Hashimoto said.

        But think about that wining the war can justify the use of 2 atomic bombs. It means that losing the war can …

        Hashimoto tweets that there are no hard evidence that 20.000 comfort women were working for Japanese. And yes it is, although many foreigners believes that there are such kind of thing.

        If you would give me the hard evidence, it goes without saying that I will admit it. But so far there are no hard evidence. (maybe to your surprise)

    • KenjiAd

      No, no, I think you are misunderstanding. I’m a Japanese guy so I can read the original.

      First, “comfort woman” is a direct translation of Ianfu (慰安婦), not an English phrase; that’s why the phrase is always enclosed by double quotes (“). It has nothing to do with whether the women were forced or not.

      Second, you are incorrect to state that Ianfu were a bunch of voluntary prostitutes (please note that ‘whore’ has a derogatory connotation in English). There is no evidence to prove that they were all voluntary. In fact, much evidence point to the other direction, i.e., many if not most of those women were working against their will.

      Finally, I think you are misrepresenting what Hashimoto said. You are correct in saying that Hashimoto thinks ‘ianfu’ system was tragic. But he also said, quite clearly, that “everyone understands” the military prostitution was “necessary” (at that time). he went on to say, perhaps to prove this point, that he even recommended the US commander in Okinawa that the Marines should utilize more of Japan’s legal sex industry over there.

      At that time, he was indeed saying something consistent with his belief of how military men behave during the war. And he was actually correct on that one. Where he was wrong was his idea that military brothels were necessitated by those men’s sexual desires.

      By saying such nonsense, he inadvertently revealed his deep-rooted belief that women’s dignity is somehow BELOW men’s sexual desire. I.e., the former is something that needs to be sacrificed in order to satisfy the latter.

      This idea is the very reason why there are rapes and other sexual assaults still going on near military bases in Okinawa or elsewhere. Setting up brothels would actually support the idea that women are sex tools, and are therefore counter-productive to reduce the sex crimes. Now _that_, Hashimoto had (and still has) no clue.

      • (*´ω`*)

        Yes it really is. Ianfu (慰安婦) has nothing to do with the women who were forced do it or not. But I think many foreigners are misunderstanding. Many reports that Hashimoto said “Sex slave” was necessary although he never said such a thing. So I refer to it.

        OK. I really don’t know about the evidence of forcing women to become sex slave. And there is one thing which you have to remember. Prove that there isn’t(was not) something is really difficult.(You have heard about white crow story.If not search ヘンペルのカラス). And thank you for teaching me that whore has derogatory connotation.(My English is not good:-<)

        And the last one. There are 2 sides in Japan too.
        I think that prostitution was necessary at that time
        . Most of the soldiers were (and are) young men. They have to do something about there desire. Don't you think so? If there were no such facility
        men gonna rape local women. Which do you think is better? Organised prostitution or rape?(Both are tragedy but we have to decide which is better.Sad thing.)Ideally I also want to say that, that kind of facility wasn't necessary. But be realistic, without the facility men gonna rape local women.

        He said so, to avoid local women being raped, the facility was necessary, not because that women has to be sacrificed for men's sexual desire.

        >Setting up brothels would actually support the idea that women are sex tools, and are therefore counter-productive to reduce the sex crimes.

        This is not logical. Then not setting up brothels would oppose the idea that women are not sex tools? I don't think so. And the word tools is not correct. It is biased. They earned money so they were(are) workers. In that sense, you are discriminating women who works in sex industry.

        It is written that because of the many rapes by Japenese soldiers they set up brothels.

  • The outlaw’s remarks are out of the question. He is confusing Japan by shallow reasoning and prejudice. There is no country which aligns with his remark, and there is a possibility of causing isolation in the world. Not the United States but he should reflect on his own thoughts.