“Comfort Women Were Necessary”, Says Hashimoto Toru

Hashimoto Toru's latest remarks over the comfort women might signal the end of his political career in Japan.

Will Hashimoto’s remarks signal the end of his political career?

Osaka mayor and co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, Hashimoto Toru, is well-known for his controversial remarks.

While his extreme views have given him brief celebrity with the more extreme elements of Japanese society, it seem that his recent remarks have seen him fall from grace, even in the eyes of his fellow Restoration Party members.

Do you think these remarks signal the end of Hashimoto’s career? Or will they just add to his notoriety and cater to right-wing sentiments?

From Yahoo! Japan:

Restoration Party Leader Hashimoto Toru’s Endorsement Of Comfort Women System And Encouragement Of US Troops Stationed In Okinawa To Use Sex Industry Criticized By Both Ruling LDP And Opposition Parties.

On May 13, Hashimoto Toru (Osaka Mayor), Co-Leader of the Japan Restoration Party, said that “The comfort women system was necessary” when asked about the issue of forced military prostitution under the former Japanese military. Hashimoto further stated that he encourages the use of the sex industry in Okinawa by troops stationed there.

While Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s remarks over Japan’s comprehension of its history have caused diplomatic friction with both China and South Korea, there has been criticism from both the ruling party and the parties in opposition over Hashimoto’s remarks, which approve the existence of the comfort women.

On the morning of May 13, Hashimoto stated to a group of reporters at Osaka City Hall that “Anyone can understand why the comfort women system was necessary if you think about how you can help those groups of warriors, those groups of over-stimulated men, when they have had to run for their lives as bullets are flying through the air as though they were drops of rain in a storm”.

“[Comfort women] were necessary at the time in order to support military discipline.”

The same evening, Hashimoto restated to a group of reporters that “[The comfort women] were necessary at the time in order to support military discipline.” Moreover, when he visited the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (Ginowan, Okinawa) during Golden Week, it was revealed that he told the US Base Commander, “I want [the troops] to make more use of the sex industry here”. When asked about why this was, Hashimoto said, “Well, because in Japan we have places where the troops can legally release their sexual energy”.

With regard to this, Ozawa Sakihito, Restoration Party committee chairperson, said that Hashimoto had also mentioned that Japan ought to take on board the realities of Japanese invasion tactics, clarifying on Hashimoto’s behalf that “It’s important to listen to what he said as a whole”. Still, a senior official of the Restoration Party criticized his remarks, saying “They were problematic remarks that verge on historical taboos”. Another senior member moved to limit the damage of Hashimoto’s statements, saying “These are not remarks that represent the thoughts of the party”.

Senior officials in the LDP were critical, saying that “It’s out of the question. These remarks will probably prove fatal to his career”. Kaieda Banri, president of the Democratic Party emphasized that the “comfort women system was unnecessary”, and Ichida Tadayoshi, secretary general of the Japanese Communist Party said that “His remarks horrified me. He isn’t competent to be the mayor of Osaka or the party leader”.

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:


At any rate, Hashimoto is too loose with his remarks. As a politician he’s dangerous and too unstable.


This is a good chance for all those bastards backing Hashimoto and the Restoration Party to rethink things.


Go ahead, take a chance.
In all likelihood, Hashimoto doesn’t understand the issue of the comfort women at all.


In spite of the fact that they were professional prostitutes who wanted to do it, and they got paid, they turn around and play the victim.


You know, you really don’t have to report every little thing the mayor says.


Fuck off traitors!


Japan made provisions for comfort women mainly using Japanese women who were highly-paid, and not forced, but the outrageous behaviour of Korea in Vietnam knew no bounds. It’s Korea that needs to reflect on their behaviour and pay reparations.


Hashimoto has some errors in his understanding.


It’s all over for Hashimoto (boo hoo).


Why the hell is this stupid bastard talking about this stuff now? There are so many more important things he should be talking about, and yet he does nothing about them.


It’s all over, Hashimoto. You’ve got enemies on the right and on the left.


Right, the thing is, Hashimoto says the comfort women were necessary. Well, Hashimoto, don’t lump the rest of Japan in with you.


I’m concerned about the opinions of his co-leader [of the Japan Restoration Party], Ishihara. These kind of loose remarks might well cause the Restoration Party to divide into two, in the worst case.


I mean come one, this guy is a celebrity! [Before becoming a politician Hashimoto used to be a talking head on several Japanese variety programmes.]


At the end of it all, Hashimoto sits on the fence

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