Osaka’s Mayor repeated controversial remarks he made that Korean women who served as sex slaves played a necessary role for the Japanese military, even as he apologized for another remark about US serviceman and Japanese brothels.
“I happen to have used the word ‘necessity’ but it doesn’t mean I personally meant it was necessary,” said Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto to AFP
“I mean that it is a historical truth that soldiers were using women. Was it not necessary for them?”
He believes his remarks have been misinterpreted.
His statement came on the same day two Korean Comfort women cancelled their scheduled meeting with the Mayor.
Kim Bok-dong and Kil Won-ok said Hashimoto only wanted to use the meeting to deflect criticism from the controversy.
“We cannot compromise our painful past as victims and the reality that we still live today for Mayor Hashimoto’s apology performance,” the women said in a statement. “We don’t need to be trampled on again.” reported the Washington Post.
Hashimoto called the cancellation unfortunate and later apologized to the US about similar remarks he made..
“I must apologize to the US military and American people and retract my comment” at the Monday press conference.
He suggested that US military personnel based in Okinawa visit legal brothels there, implying that might lessen the incidents of sex crimes.