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Tuesday 14 May 2013

Osaka mayor sparks anger over comfort women comment....

The mayor of Osaka in Japan has sparked outrage by saying that the Japanese military’s forced prostitution of Asian women before and during World War Two was necessary to "maintain discipline" in the army.

Toru Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka, said, "Wartime sex slaves were a necessity to maintain discipline in the Japanese military during those times. If you want soldiers at war to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. The Abe cabinet, as well as past cabinets, share the same sentiments."

Toru Hashimoto’s comment triggered anger in Asian countries that suffered from Japan’s wartime aggression. it comes amid mounting criticism at the prospect of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government revising Japan’s past apologies for wartime atrocities.

Shinzo Abe has acknowledged "comfort women" existed but has denied they were coerced into prostitution.

Historians say up to 200,000 women, mainly from the Korean Peninsula and China, were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers in military brothels during the Second World War.

  • Japan politician condones WWII ‘comfort women’ sex slavery.....

The proximity of the battlefield gave rise to the ‘comfort women’ system on Japanese-occupied territories in the 1930s, according a Japanese politician. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Korean women were forced into sex slavery at the time.

All is fair in love and war, espoused Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka and co-founder of nationalistic opposition party Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

Those sex slaves were euphemistically called ‘comfort women’ and came from several countries, mostly China and Korea, but also from Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan. It is believed that no less than 200,000 women passed through this system.

“In the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives. If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary. Anyone can understand that,” Hashimoto told reporters at the Osaka City Government building. Brothels were needed “to maintain discipline in the military - it must have been necessary at that time,” he specified.

Hashimoto stressed that he is familiar with the history of the period and insisted that sex slavery was common not only in the Japanese army, an obvious reference to alleged ‘Joy Divisions’ in Nazi concentration camps in Europe during World War II.

An unidentified government official told South Korean Yonhap news agency that Seoul is disappointed that a senior Japanese official “made comments supportive of crimes against humanity and revealed a serious lack of a historical understanding and respect for women's rights,” AP reported.

But Toru Hashimoto refused to deny that comfort women were forced to provide sexual services against their will.

“It is a result of the tragedy of the war that they became comfort women against their will. The responsibility for the war also lies with Japan. We have to politely offer kind words to [former] comfort women,” he said, following the path of former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who in his tenure apologized to those Asian countries that Japan colonized in the first half of the 20th century.

In 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, Tomiichi Murayama issued a statement in which he acknowledged that the Japanese military forces were “seriously involved” in “staining the honor and dignity of many women” and offered his profound apology to all wartime comfort women who suffered “emotional and physical wounds that can never be closed.”

The current position of the Japanese government has suffered little change since then.

“The stance of the Japanese government on the comfort women issue is well known. They have suffered unspeakably painful experiences. The [present PM] Abe cabinet has the same sentiments as past cabinets,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told journalists on Tuesday.

However, the co-leader of Japan Restoration Party expressed support to the contrary position of PM Shinzo Abe, who recently made a controversial statement that Japanese aggression in WWII is yet to be defined. The statement sparked outrage in South Korea and China.

“What Prime Minister Abe is saying is correct in that, academically, there are no definitions on aggression,” Hashimoto said.......http://rt.com/news/japan-comfort-women-ww2-248/
  •  Korea denounces Japanese politician's claim wartime sex slaves were necessary....

The Korean government has denounced a Japanese politician for justifying Japan's past of drafting sex slaves during World War II.
Co-leader of the nationalist Japan Restoration Party and Osaka Mayor, Toru Hashimoto says the draft of so-called 'comfort women' was necessary during times of war.
Hashimoto added every other country during the period had sex slaves for their soldiers so Japan should not be the only one that is reprimanded by the international community.
The Korean government is demanding an official apology for what it says is Hashimoto's clear lack of self-awareness of his country's past.
Seoul added the drafting of comfort women during the war was a systematic human rights violation by Japan.

  • Japan distances itself from 'comfort women' comment....

TOKYO (AFP) - The Japanese government on Tuesday distanced itself from comments by a prominent politician that the so-called "comfort women" of WWII served a "necessary" role by keeping troops in check.

Outspoken Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said soldiers living with the daily threat of death needed some way to let off steam which was provided by the comfort women system.

Up to 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forcibly drafted into brothels catering to the Japanese military in territories occupied by Japan during WWII, according to many mainstream historians.

"When soldiers risk their lives under a hail of bullets, and you want to give them a rest somewhere, it is clear that you need a comfort women system," Hashimoto said.

South Korea voiced "deep disappointment" over the comments, which risk inflaming Japan's relationship with neighbours that were victims of brutal expansionism and who claim Tokyo has never faced up to its warmongering past.

"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," a Seoul foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

"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."

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was "shocked and strongly infuriated" at the comments.

"Forced conscription of comfort women was a serious crime committed by Japanese militarism during the Second World War and it is also a major human rights issue concerning the dignity of victims," he said.

"How to deal with its past will decide how Japan can embrace the future."

Hashimoto, who is co-leader of the national Japan Restoration Party, acknowledged that some women providing sexual services to Japan's soldiers did so "against their will", something he attributed to "the tragedy of war".

But he said there was no evidence this had been officially sanctioned by the state and that the use of prostitutes by servicemen was not unique to Japan.

"There are many examples" of unacceptable and brutal behaviour by soldiers in wartime and "to contain such things, it is a cold fact that a certain system like comfort women was necessary", he said.

Japan's top government spokesman and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday refused to comment directly on Hashimoto's remarks.

However, he said: "The government's position on the comfort women issue is that, as I repeatedly said here, we feel pains towards people who experienced hardships that are beyond description and (this) administration shares the view held by past governments."

In a landmark 1993 statement, the Japanese government offered "sincere apologies" for the "immeasurable pain and suffering" inflicted on comfort women.

Two years later, Japan issued a broader apology expressing "deep remorse" for war suffering.........http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/17143723/japan-distances-itself-from-comfort-women-comment/
  • Νέος «πόλεμος» Κίνας - Ιαπωνίας για τις «σκλάβες του σέξ» ... ΙΑΠΩΝΩΝ ΣΤΟ Β ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΠΟΛΕΜΟ

Οργή και αποτροπιασμό προκάλεσαν στην Κίνα οι δηλώσεις του δημάρχου της ιαπωνικής πόλης Οσάκα, ο οποίος υποστήριξε ότι το σύστημα των «στρατιωτικών οίκων ανοχής» που εφάρμοζε η Ιαπωνία κατά τον Β' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο ήταν μια «αναγκαιότητα».

Οι Ασιάτες οι οποίοι έπεσαν θύματα της ιαπωνικής επιθετικότητας την εποχή του πολέμου, μεταξύ των οποίων πολλοί Κινέζοι και Κορεάτες, συχνά εκφράζουν τη δυσαρέσκειά τους καθώς θεωρούν ότι οι Ιάπωνες πολιτικοί επιχειρούν να δικαιολογήσουν τις ιαπωνικές ακρότητες κατά τη διάρκεια και πριν από τον πόλεμο.
Ο δήμαρχος της Οσάκα Τόρου Χασιμότο (Toru Hashimoto) είναι γνωστός λαϊκιστής και δεν είναι η πρώτη φορά που οι δηλώσεις του προκαλούν αντιδράσεις.

«Ο οποιοσδήποτε μπορεί να καταλάβει ότι το σύστημα των γυναικών παρηγοριάς ήταν απαραίτητο για να παρέχεται ανακούφιση στο πλήθος των ανδρών που διακινδύνευαν τη ζωή τους μέσα σε μια θύελλα από σφαίρες» φέρεται να δήλωσε ο Χασιμότο. «Την εποχή εκείνη ήταν ένα απαραίτητο σύστημα ώστε να διατηρείται η στρατιωτική πειθαρχία», πρόσθεσε.

Οι ιστορικοί υπολογίζουν ότι τουλάχιστον 200.000 γυναίκες υποχρεώθηκαν να γίνουν σκλάβες του σεξ στα πορνεία του Αυτοκρατορικού Στρατού πριν και κατά τη διάρκεια του Β' Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου.

Η Κίνα, όπου οι μνήμες της ιαπωνικής επιθετικότητας παραμένουν βαθιά χαραγμένες, κατήγγειλε τις δηλώσεις αυτές.

«Η στρατολόγηση δια της βίας των γυναικών παρηγοριάς ήταν ένα σοβαρό έγκλημα του ιαπωνικού μιλιταρισμού την εποχή εκείνη. Πρόκειται για προσβολή στην ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια και ένα σοβαρό πρόβλημα που αφορά τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα», δήλωσε ο εκπρόσωπος του υπουργείου Εξωτερικών Χονγκ Λέι, εκφράζοντας την «αγανάκτηση» του Πεκίνου για τους Ιάπωνες πολιτικούς οι οποίοι «προκάλεσαν δημοσίως την ανθρώπινη συνείδηση και την ιστορική δικαιοσύνη».
«Το πώς η Ιαπωνία αντιμετωπίζει το παρελθόν της, θα καθορίσει το μέλλον της. Οι ασιάτες γείτονές της και η διεθνής κοινότητα περιμένουν να δουν τι επιλογές θα κάνει η Ιαπωνία», κατέληξε.
Σύμφωνα με νοτιοκορεατικά μέσα ενημέρωσης, η Σεούλ κάλεσε επίσης το Τόκιο να ζητήσει συγγνώμη για το σχόλιο του δημάρχου.

Την τελευταία περίοδο, και καθώς οι σχέσεις του Τόκιο με την Κίνα και τη Νότια Κορέα είναι τεταμένες λόγω εδαφικών διεκδικήσεων, η ιαπωνική κυβέρνηση προσπαθεί να υποβαθμίσει δηλώσεις που έχουν γίνει για την περίοδο του πολέμου από τα ίδια τα μέλη της, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του πρωθυπουργού Σίνζο Άμπε. Ωστόσο ο γραμματέας του υπουργικού συμβουλίου Γιοσιχίντε Σούγκα απέφυγε να σχολιάσει ευθέως τις δηλώσεις του Χασιμότο.

Ο δήμαρχος της Οσάκα είναι συνιδρυτής του μικρού Κόμματος Ιαπωνικής Παλινόρθωσης, με το οποίο ο Άμπε σχεδιάζει να συνεργαστεί για να προωθήσει διάφορα συντηρητικά πολιτικά σχέδιά του, όπως η αναθεώρηση του μεταπολεμικού ειρηνιστικού συντάγματος.

«Η στάση της κυβέρνησης, όπως το έχουμε ξαναπεί, είναι ότι λυπόμαστε βαθιά όταν σκεφτόμαστε τα απερίγραπτα δεινά όσων έζησαν» την περίοδο του πολέμου, είπε ο Σούγκα, προσθέτοντας ότι η κυβέρνηση του Άμπε έχει την ίδια άποψη για το θέμα των γυναικών αυτών με τις προηγούμενες ιαπωνικές κυβερνήσεις.
Το 1993, η τότε κυβέρνηση είχε παραδεχτεί ότι ο στρατός είχε υποχρεώσει πολλές γυναίκες να γίνουν σκλάβες του σεξ σε στρατιωτικά πορνεία και ζήτησε συγγνώμη για την ενέργεια αυτή.

Toru Hashimoto

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  1. Japanese female lawmakers slam Osaka mayor's comments on "comfort women".....

    TOKYO, May 16 (Xinhua)
    -- Several Japanese female lawmakers on Thursday held a press conference in the Diet to slam Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto over his improper comments on "comfort women" and to ask him for offering an apology.

    Mariko Kikuta, a member of the 11 female lawmakers, said that Hashimoto's controversial words have shocked the international community and damaged Japan's national interests.

    Meanwhile, all the six female lawmakers of the 47-member Okinawa prefectural assembly also issued a statement in Naha denouncing Hashimoto's remarks, saying they will send the statement to Osaka city government and the Japan Restoration Party that co-headed by Hashimoto, according to local media.

    Sueko Yamauchi, one of the six, said she questioned Hashimoto' s humanity and demanded him resign, said Japan's Kyodo News Agency.

    The mayor reiterated Thursday in a TV program that the " comfort women" system was considered necessary before and during the World War II.

    Hashimoto on Monday said that sexual slaves by women were " necessary" for Japanese soldiers during the World War II to maintain the army's discipline and his remarks drew immediately opposition from South Korea, China and other countries.

    A spokesman from South Korean foreign ministry said Thursday that Hashimoto's statements are beyond common sense, insulting women's dignity, distorting the history and defending criminal acts, according to reports.

    The controversial remarks also drew condemnation from Japan's ally the United States as two U.S. lawmakers issued a statement Wednesday, saying Hashimoto's remarks are "contemptible" and " repulsive," reported local media.

    China on Tuesday also criticized Hashimoto's improper words. Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesman said China is shocked and indignant at the Japanese politician's remarks as they flagrantly challenge historic justice and the conscience of mankind.



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