The leader of Japan’s third largest party has spoken of the “cold” reaction his suggestion to the commander of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma that he have his soldiers make better use of Japanese prostitutes received, and for good measure has stated that Japan’s wartime use of “comfort women” was justified too.
Tooru Hashimoto, Osaka’s ex-mayor and the founder of the Japan Restoration Party, now Japan’s third largest, made the comments at a recent press conference.
He told the base commander he wanted him to have his soldiers use more prostitutes:
Even if they aren’t operating a comfort women system, the sex trade is still necessary.
I mentioned this to the American commander:
‘There are places in Japan where you can legally relieve your sexual energy, and if it is within the bounds of the law I’d like to have you make more serious use of them, as you’d be able to better control the sexual energy of your valiant marines. It’s not something I’m just saying, you really should use them.’
The commander gave me a frozen smile and told me ‘it’s forbidden.’ ‘There is a directive forbidding them from going to these places, let’s just stop this conversation here.’
Being a soldier is a job which involves putting yourself in extreme situations where you don’t know whether your next breath will be your last. The build up a lot of energy and need to dissipate it somehow. I think we should think carefully about where they can do this.
This appears to have been a crude attempt at justifying the Imperial Japanese Army’s extensive and highly controversial usage of “comfort women” by linking it to general usage of prostitutes by all armies, as he went on to say the IJA’s use of comfort women was “necessary at the time,” if “a tragic consequence of the war,” and that the Koreans still have not produced any historical proof that any women were forced into it.
In response, the US Department of Defense has said that “this runs contrary to our plans, values and laws. We do not think any issue can be solved merely by resorting to prostitution. His comments make him look foolish.”
During his tenure as mayor of Osaka, Hashimoto was an enthusiastic proponent of reopening Osaka’s red-light district, and has displayed both scepticism of Korean and Chinese historical claims and a frightening lack of insight into barbarian affairs, making the comments none too surprising for him.
They did surprise even the nest of right-wing loons which is Japan’s largest online forum, however:
“Isn’t this guy a moron? He seems to just want to stand out by any means necessary.”
“What is he on? How could you think to say something like this in public?”
“Hashimoto seems to be unable to control his own urges so these comments are not surprising.”
“This coming from a guy whose adultery got exposed.”
“America’s army doesn’t want to do any Japs!”
“I thought most brothels refused to serve foreigners in any case.”
“Right, most of them ban white and black men anyway. And their girls hate whites. How sad, even if a white has money he can’t even get a woman in a brothel.”
“A hot white guy can just sit there silent and the girls will come to him so it hardly matters.”
“I can’t believe how rude this guy is. Like he views American soldiers as animals… most of them are just simple young lads.”
“What a shameless fool. What is he thinking? Where else can you find a politician asking members of a foreign military to make better use of his own nation’s prostitutes?”