“Comfort Women” are necessary during wartime, according to a Japanese mayor. Toru Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka Japan, made the statement during a press conference this week. Japan’s use of women, forced into sex slavery during World War II, has faced stark criticism.
Despite the controversy, Hashimoto defends the use of comfort women as the soldiers deserved to “rest” in times of war. He states that the enslavement of nearly 200,00 Japanese women was simply a “tragic result of war.”
As reported by CNN, Hashimoto further admitted offering prostitutes to US soldiers stationed in Okinawa. He explained that the soldiers would benefit from “releasing sexual frustrations.”
He contends that by utilizing comfort women, and modern prostitutes, soldiers are less likely to be sexually aggressive or violent.
Comfort women, utilized by the Imperial Army during WWII, were generally from Korea, China, and the Philippines. The women were forced to work as prostitutes, servicing soldiers during the war.
Many of the former comfort women demanded recognition, and compensation, for the suffering they endured. In 1993, the Japanese government finally recognized the women’s plight, offering acknowledgement and an apology.
As reported by The New York Times, government officials in South Korea are outraged by the mayor’s comments. A large portion of the comfort women were from Korea.
A senior government official from South Korea has stated that Hashimoto has displayed “a serious lack of historical understanding and a lack of respect for human rights.”
Numerous government officials in Japan have also spoken out against Hashimoto’s insensitive comments. Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura stated that he “could not believe that it came from a man representing a political party.”
Japanese minster Tomomi Inada was also disturbed by the comments about comfort women:
“I wonder is this something the representative of a political party should say? I myself think the comfort women [issue] infringed the human rights of the women.”
Hashimoto’s comments have sparked shock and disappointment worldwide. The comfort women were sex slaves as admitted by Japanese administration in 1993. The government’s apology has now been overshadowed by the mayor’s defense of the practice.
[Image via Wikimedia]