We protest against Osaka Mayor Hashimoto’s remark on “comfort women” and demand that he retract it and make an official apology; We also demand his resignation
May 15, 2013
Secretary General, National Confederation of trade Unions (Zenroren)
Osaka Mayor HASHIMOTO Toru, who is also a co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, used his press conference on May 13 to defense the former Imperial Japanese Army’s use of “comfort women,” saying that “everyone can understand that the system was necessary.”
Later in the day, he met a commander of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and said that US servicemen should legally use the local sex industry. On Twitter, he defiantly said, “It is a fact that militaries in many countries had measures to satisfy their troops’ sexual appetites and that there is no evidence that the Imperial Japanese Army abducted Korean women and forced them into prostitution.
These points he raised in his remarks show clearly that his arguments about the “comfort women“ issue are not just a slip of the tongue, but they exactly represent his historical view and the level of his awareness of the basic human rights.
In handing down all the historical gains made by human kind over the many years, it is a duty of all those who live in the present-day world to promote respect for and the further development of the basic human rights based on individual dignity. Those who hold public offices, such as mayors and political party leaders, are strongly called upon to fulfill their responsibility to squarely face the historical facts in good faith, examine the history in defense of human rights, and work to further advance the basic human rights.
Mayor Hashimoto has repeated verbal abuse over the “comfort women” issue by distorting the fact of “taking women by force.” He has recently gone so far as to deny the views the Japanese government has expressed (the 1993 statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary KONO Yohei and the 1995 statement by then Prime Minister MURAYAMA) and even absolve the former Imperial Japanese Army of criminal acts it committed during World War II. He also insists that the legality of criminal acts in the military, such as the use of “comfort women” that totally denies the dignity of women, is relevant today.
It is not difficult to imagine that these statements by Hashimoto will torment many Chinese and Korean people who underwent hardships during the Japanese war of aggression as well as the victims of sexual crimes committed by US servicemen. His statements in favor of prostitution trample upon the basic human rights and the dignity of women.
Mayor Hashimoto’s recent remarks are so serious that we must call into question his quality as Osaka’s mayor or a Japanese politician. Zenroren demands that Hashimoto retract his outrageous remarks, make official apology, and immediately leave public offices he currently holds, including the mayor of Osaka City.
Another co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, ISHIHARA Sintaro, said that prostitution is part and parcel of the military. The party’s secretary general MATSUI Ichiro said Hashimoto’s remarks were intended to help solve the problem in earnest.
We are appalled by their remarks in defense of Hashimoto’s remarks and defiant attitudes. Their comments as leaders of the Japan Restoration Party only reveal the party’s bias in viewing the historical issues and its lack of sense of the basic human rights. Its responsibility and existence as a political party must be questioned. Zenroren expresses its strong protest about their remarks.