Osaka Mayor and co-founder of the Japan Restoration Party Toru Hashimoto has been suffering from some serious foot-in-mouth disease as of late. Last month,Hashimoto sent jaws to the floor when he publicly announced that comfort women in WWII were “necessary” as a means to provide Japanese soldiers with some rest. As you might imagine, this did not go over well with the international community, where many of the forced prostitutes came from.
Not a topic the rest of the country is particularly excited to rehash, Japan issued an apology in 1993 for its treatment of comfort women, but Hashimoto seems content to reignite this fire stating that “anyone can understand” why soldiers required the services of these women amidst the flying bullets. There’s about 200,000 women who were forced into sex slavery during the war that would vehemently disagree.
Hashimoto issued an apology for the remarks, calling the use of comfort women an “inexcusable act”, however he did not concede that his previous statement was wrong, merely that he had said them out loud. He acknowledged the mistreatment of women from Korea and Japan, but notably left out China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan from his apology, where many women were forced into prostitution as well. Further distancing himself from these remarks, he insisted on being misquoted about the necessity of comfort women and only meant to open a debate to shed light on the international mistreatment of women during wartime. In a feeble attempt to diffuse responsibility, he stated it was wrong to single out Japan (read: himself).
But not one to let the fire die, Hashimoto had to issue another apology a week later after stating that American soldiers stationed in Okinawa should visit “legal sex businesses” to curb their sexual energy. This came after several instances where US soldiers had been convicted of raping local women, and Hashimoto felt that promoting the islands’ brothels would reduce sexual offenses in the area, but also simultaneously makes his apology about the “necessities” of comfort women somewhat moot.
Politics are full of deceit, cover-ups, and public blunders, and Hashimoto has been a poster child for the side of error that has only served to alienate him from many Japanese as well as the country’s neighbours all within the course of a month. Along with promoting the nationalistic platform of his party, the busy man should really take some of his own advice and frequent one of those legit brothels to rest a while. It’s necessary, for the good of the country.