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Remarks by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, on Japan’s wartime military sex slave system and his call for the “greater use of adult entertainment shops” (fuzoku) by U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa have once again raised serious questions about his nationalistic views and his understanding of human rights. His statements, which have provoked an outcry in Asian countries that suffered from Japan’s militarism as well as disdain in Washington, threaten to undermine international trust in Japan and have dealt another blow to already strained ties with China and South Korea.

On Monday, Mr. Hashimoto told reporters that the sex slave system was necessary to maintain discipline in the Imperial Japanese armed forces and stressed that there was no proof that the Japanese state kidnapped women and forced them to become sex slaves, aka “comfort women.” This statement flies in the face of the indisputable fact that the most fundamental human rights of tens of thousands of Asian women were violated by the Japanese military.

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