Japan Mayor’s Sex Slaves Comment Prompts Anger, Apology

In Japan, a mayor’s “sex slaves” comment earlier this month raised ire — and now Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has apologized for remarks a few weeks back about “comfort women.”

In the media in Japan, the mayor’s sex slaves comments are not out of line with what is expected from the conservative and outspoke Hashimoto, but after the controversy, he has elaborated on the remarks — and offered an apology for offense caused.

On May 14, The Inquisitr reported that Hashimoto had referenced sex slaves — calling them “comfort women,” a common wartime euphemism — and said that their presence was “necessary” to offer soldiers a “rest.”

The comments were widely seen as excusing sexual slavery and coerced or forced prostitution, and leaders in Japan and other nations decried the mayor’s remarks.

A Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in the aftermath of the mayor’s comments:

“There is worldwide recognition … that the issue of comfort women amounts to a wartime rape committed by Japan during its past imperial period in a serious breach of human rights. Our government again urges Japan’s prominent officials to show regret for atrocities committed during Japan’s imperial period and to correct their anachronistic way of thinking and comments.”

Hashimoto said today:

“I am totally in agreement that the use of ‘comfort women’ by Japanese soldiers before and during the World War II was an inexcusable act that violated the dignity and human rights of the women in which large numbers of Korean and Japanese were included.”

The mayor also commented:

“I also strongly believe that Japan must reflect upon its past offenses with humility and express a heartfelt apology and regret to those women who suffered from the wartime atrocities as comfort women … I have never condoned the use of comfort women.”

In Japan, the mayor’s “sex slaves” remarks echoed earlier statements the politician had made about U.S. troops using sex workers to relieve work-related frustrations.