The leader of Japan's Your Party, a minor opposition political party, has stated that they intend to back out of their agreement to cooperate with the Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) after leader Toru Hashimoto made several offensive comments last week about the country's use of "comfort women," or sexual slavery, during World War II. The two parties were going to work together in the Upper House election to be held this summer.
Surveys by leading Japanese newspapers show that majority of the public think that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's controversial statements about comfort women and prostitution were "inappropriate". The outspoken politician's comments were met with outrage and criticism by Japan's Asian neighbours and even its ally, the United States.
As criticism continue to hound Osaka Mayor and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) co-leader Toru Hashimoto – the outcry against his comments on Japan’s wartime sex slave system and prostitution are coming from all over the globe now – the outspoken Japanese politician put the blame squarely on the media, criticizing them for putting out what according to him were “misleading” reports.
Osaka’s outspoken mayor Toru Hashimoto has found himself back in the center of controversy as he slammed the United States’ criticism of his earlier comments regarding “comfort women” in World War II, saying that American soldiers themselves abused Japanese women when they occupied the Japanese islands after their surrender.
Toru Hashimoto, the outspoken mayor of Osaka, on Thursday offered to talk to former "comfort women" and apologize for their sufferings brought by the Japanese military in World War II, this after causing an international outrage when the Japanese politician said in an interview they served a "necessary" role in wartime. Hashimoto’s comments had prompted angry reactions from China, South Korea and the Philippines for saying that soldiers in WWII needed some way to “let off steam”, which was the specific role of the comfort women system.
A number of Okinawan women have demanded for an apology from Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto over his suggestion that US troops stationed on the island should take advantage of prostitution to release their sexual frustrations. This follows another controversial statement from the outspoken politician wherein he said that comfort women played a "necessary" part in keeping the Japanese soldiers in line during World War II.
Official spokespersons from China and South Korea have made their countries’ anger and indignation known over Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s comments regarding “comfort women” in World War II. The Japanese politician was referring to the multitude of women forced to become sex slaves by the invading Japanese army, saying that the system was justifiable under wartime circumstances. China and South Korea – nations with which Japan already has a tenuous relationship with – have voiced out their indignation over the comments.
The Japanese government's top spokesman and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refused to directly comment on the recent controversy involving Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto who said that "comfort women" were "necessary" for the Japanese soldiers during World War II. Instead Suga said that the government's position towards this issue is that it shares the views held by past governments.
In what could be seen as another controversial statement that could again escalate tensions in the region, Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, said on Monday that "comfort women" were a necessary element of World War II for Japanese soldiers. “Comfort women” was a term coined for those women – usually from countries that Japan occupied – who provided sex for Imperial Army soldiers during the war. Hashimoto then acknowledged that these women served soldiers "against their will."
Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto, co-leader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), traveled to Okinawa Prefecture for a three-day visit starting on Tuesday. Hashimoto is looking to meet up with a local political group to flesh out, and if possible, sign an agreement of policy that supports the Futenma military base relocation plan within Okinawa.