JAPAN: Mayor’s ‘Comfort Women’ Remarks Shock Facebook

Osaka-Mayor-Toru-HashimotoJEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – When hasty, controversial remarks find their way onto social media the result is rarely good for politicians. That’s a lesson Osaka Mayor Tōru Hashimoto has come to learn.

According to publications like The Japan Times and Mainichi Daily, two of Japan’s prominent dailies, Hashimoto recently made flippant remarks about the always sensitive ‘comfort women’ issue. On May 18, the All Japan Obachan Party, a group founded by Osakan middle-aged women, translated the mayor’s comments into seven languages and posted them on Facebook.

Among the doozies, that ‘comfort women’ during World War II were “‘necessary to maintain discipline’ in the Japanese military.” He also denied that many of these women were abducted or that they could be considered sex slaves. After, Hashimoto asserted that the U.S. Marines currently positioned at the Okinawa Futenma Air Station should feel free to use “local sex-related services” for the same reasons that ‘comfort women’ have been used before.

Not surprisingly, Hashimoto has come under fire. But whether from people demanding his impeachment to foreigners just showing support for the women’s group, various rebuttals have done little to move the mayor. He has repeatedly defended his comments, asserting the media has been “running misleading reports.” Regardless, the ‘comfort women’ issue has once again been thrust under the media spotlight. With any luck, strides will be made towards a resolution.

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