May 14, 2013
Criticizing Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru for sympathizing with the Japanese Imperial military's sex slavery system, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi on May 13 said that his remarks are "an insult to human dignity and totally unacceptable."
Ichida also said that Hashimoto "is unqualified to represent a political party or a city government and should refrain from commenting on national policy."
Earlier in the day in a press conference at the city government office, Mayor Hashimoto, who is also a co-head of the Japan Restoration Party, said that the "comfort women" system was necessary for soldiers to be able to relax and enjoy themselves when away from the battlefield. Such a system was "utilized not only by the Japanese military but also by other nations' militaries," he added.
The mayor also said that Japan has received "unjust denigration," claiming that there is no evidence to prove that the Japanese government seized women (and girls) by force and the use of threats to make them work as "comfort women."
Hashimoto later on the same day notified reporters that when he visited Okinawa on May 1, he encouraged U.S. Marine Corps brass to use facilities offering sexual services as a measure to properly direct the sexual energy of soldiers.
On the same day, Japanese Communist Party Osaka Prefectural Committee issued a statement in protest against Hashimoto's remarks.
The statement points out that it is now seriously called into question if Hashimoto is fit to serve as a mayor and leading politician, saying, "The mayor's remarks show his one-sided understanding of history and remarkable lack of a sense of human rights." It demands that the outspoken hawk retract his remarks and make a sincere apology to those who were forced to work as "comfort women" for Japanese soldiers.
The Osaka Prefectural Headquarters of the New Japan Women's Association (Shinfujin) also lodged a note of protest with the city government.
The note stresses that they express deep anger against the mayor's remarks trampling upon women's human rights. "Hashimoto, who regards wartime sexual abuse as 'what could not be avoided at that time,' is totally unworthy to be the mayor of the major international city of Osaka," it states.