Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto knows first hand how it is to be under fire for comments made about “comfort women,” or those who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. So it comes as no surprise that he is out to defend embattled new NHK chairman Katsuto Momii, who has courted controversy over his own expressed opinion about the sensitive topic.
“It’s not a problem that the head (of NHK) made such a comment. All countries did similar things and have unfortunate histories regarding war and sex,” Hashimoto said. He also says that the logic behind Momii’s argument is “sound” and has been trumpeted by other politicians like himself for some time now. While the NHK chair has publicly expressed regret over his comments and said they were “extremely inappropriate,” the public outcry over the statement has not died down. The public broadcaster has been reportedly inundated with over 1,000 critical comments over the incident, and some South Korean politicians calling for his resignation.
Hashimoto was embroiled in a similar controversy in May 2013 when he said that the comfort women system was “necessary” for the army during the time of war. He was widely criticized not just by Japan’s former colonies like South Korea and China, but by the U.S. State Department and international human rights groups as well. Many feared that he just publicly stated what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the ruling party stand for with regards to the issue. Momii was reportedly handpicked by Abe for the NHK chairmanship, and so people are again speculating that the administration agrees with this point of view.
[via Japan Times]
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