by Steve Han
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto asked that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors retract its condemnation of his remarks justifying Japan’s use of sex slaves during World War II.
In a letter sent to Osaka’s sister-city, the Japanese right-wing politician said his words were “misunderstood” by San Francisco’s equivalent to a city council as he never “legitimatized or defended” Japan’s institution of “comfort women,” a term used to describe sex slaves.
“My statements … have always been consistent with my concern for the protection and enhancement of women’s dignity and human rights,” he wrote.
Hashimoto came under scrutiny across the world in May, after he said that comfort women were “necessary” for Japanese soldiers during the war.
San Francisco criticized Hashimoto’s remarks on the city’s website in June, drafting a resolution that stated that the board “strongly condemns” the Mayor’s “attitude and statements” for “justifying the state-sponsored ‘comfort women’ system which forced hundreds of thousands of Asian women into sexual servitude for the Japanese military.”
The city board’s condemnation led to Hashimoto canceling his planned trip to San Francisco and New York in June.