Japan has long been criticized for school books that fail to acknowledge atrocities committed by Japanese troops in World War II as well as continued ceremonies that honor war criminals. For that reason, many felt that the recent acknowledgment of forced prostitution of thousands of Asian women — called Comfort Women — was a step forward. Then Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, stepped forward. Hashimoto has gone public to defend the forced prostitution as necessary to “maintain discipline” in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle. So much for progress.
Hashimoto seemed to strive to show that fascist values had not been lost on the island: “To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time. For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That’s clear to anyone.” Well, not everyone. There are those 200,0000 women who were forced into prostitution, particularly from Korea and China. Then there are those human beings who can still be found around the world.
To make matters worse, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government is reportedly considering revising Japan’s past apologies for wartime atrocities. Abe has questioned whether “comfort women” were truly forced into prostitution. Rather he suggests that 200,000 Korean and Chinese women may have simply asked to be used a prostitutes without pay or humane treatment.
Source: NY Times