Toru Hashimoto, mayor of the Japanese city of Osaka, said today that the forced prostitution of thousands of Asian women during World War II was necessary to maintain discipline in the Japanese army. For the mayor, the time spent with these women were a rest opportunity for the soldiers.
"For soldiers who risked their lives when the bullets fell like rain, so they can have some rest it was necessary to get a 'comfort woman'. It is clear to everyone", says Hashimoto, quoted by "The Independent".
The young mayor, who is also one of the leaders of the emerging conservative Nationalist and Restoration Party, also said there is no evidence that these women, euphemistically called 'comfort women', have been forced into prostitution. Statement which had also been made last week by Prime Minister Yoshei Kono.
Historians estimate, however, that about 200 thousand women in the territories occupied by the Japanese during World War II were forced to become sex slaves of the invading troops. Most were from China and South Korea, but also from the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan.
This is not the first time that Toru Hashimoto makes controversial statements. Last year, said Japan needed a dictatorship.
The politician is a co-founder of the Nationalist Party of Restoration, which secured a small representation in the Japanese parliament. Prior to being mayor of Osaka, was elected at age 37, the provincial governor of Osaka, becoming the youngest holder of the office in the Japanese political history.