• Kyodo

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Three Chinese former “comfort women” plan to demand that the Osaka Bar Association take disciplinary action against Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto over his remarks apparently attempting to justify the Japanese military’s use of sex slaves, sources said Monday.

The women, who are all in their 80s living in China’s Shanxi province, sent a protest letter last month to the Osaka Municipal Government, demanding that Hashimoto apologize and retract his remarks.

Hashimoto said in May that the comfort women, Japan’s euphemism for the wartime sex slaves, were “necessary” to maintain discipline among Japan’s soldiers. The sources said the women will tell the bar association they were damaged by the Japanese army and feel strong anger about Hashimoto’s remarks, which defended the Japanese military’s actions.

One of the women, Li Xiumei, took the witness stand with three others at the Tokyo District Court in July 1996 as the first Chinese former comfort woman to seek compensation from Tokyo.

Shortly after Hashimoto made his contentious remarks regarding the wartime military brothels, Osaka-based lawyers asked the association to discipline the lawyer-turned-politician.