The Marmot's Hole

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Tag: Toru Hashimoto

When the Japanese right get an idea in their heads…

I’m not really sure what the Comfort Women have to do with Osaka city affairs, but mayor Toru Hashimoto really likes to talk about them. Or Tweet about them, as it were:

“Japan was bad,” he told a party meeting on Monday, the Asahi Shimbun reported. “It is true that we used women to solve the problem of sex on the battlefield.

“Having said that, America, Britain, Germany and France, and even the South Korean military in Vietnam after WWII, they all used women to address the issue.

“Japan was bad, but you all should face up to history. This is what Japanese politicians must say,” the Asahi quoted him as saying.

Hashimoto’s use of Twitter has even got The Ish—who recently blasted Hashimoto for calling Japan’s surprise visits to its Asian neighbors in the 1930s and 1940s “aggression”—advising caution—really difficult to express right-wing historical revisionism in 140 characters or less.

To be fair to Hashimoto, at least he’s saying rude things politely. The same could not be said about his until-recently party colleague Shingo Nishimura, who made quite possibly the most disgusting statement about the Comfort Women I’ve ever read coming from the mouth of a public official:

During his speech, Nishimura also defended compatriot Hashimoto’s statement, saying that ‘comfort women’ had been incorrectly translated to ‘sex slaves,’ according to USA Today.

“‘Comfort women’ is erroneously translated as ‘sex slaves,’ which might encourage anti-Japanese riots and conspiracies,” he said. “We better fight back by telling them that the words ‘comfort women’ and ‘sex slaves’ are completely different and that there are numerous South Korean prostitutes roaming around Japan.”

He then put the final nail in the controversial commentary coffin, joking that he might visit his hometown of Osaka, venture into red-light districts and yell, “Hey, you South Korean comfort women!”

I believe the actual comment was something more along the lines of “Japan is swarming with Korean prostitutes.” He did get expelled from his party for that statement, and even Hashimoto was apparently appalled by it. Still, I suppose we should be thankful in a way—the feeling I’ve gotten is that these guys really believe that not only was Japan blameless for the Comfort Women, but also that the Comfort Women were essentially a Korean problem, that Korea is a nation of whores. At least Nishimura was being honest.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is now comparing the Yasukuni Shrine to Arlington National Cemetery:

Abe cited a Japanese history professor, Kevin Doak of Georgetown University, who said that visiting the Arlington National Cemetery, where Confederate soldiers are buried “does not mean endorsing slavery.”

Fair dinkum, but then again, I’m unaware of anything like the Yūshūkan on the grounds of Arlington. Excuse me if I’m mistaken.

The UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is reportedly calling on Japan to take measures to prevent hate speech directed at the Comfort Women. I like the altered Korean flag in the protest photo—who said the Japanese right doesn’t do irony?

Shinzo Abe, Toru Hashimoto and the Comfort Women

The Dong-A Ilbo is nervous about Shinzo Abe—who just got himself elected head of the LDP—possibly regaining his old job as Japanese prime minister. In an interview with the Sankei Shimbun last month, Abe said as prime minister, he would revise statements made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kiichi Miyazawa, another ex-cabinet chief Yohei Kono and former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama (see also here).

Those would be the statements about Japanese colonial rule, Japan’s wars of aggression and the Comfort Women.

The Dong-A doesn’t say how he might revise them, but I’m guessing he’d prefer something more along these lines (found via one of my Facebook friends. Hamel should get a kick out of it).

According to the Dong-A, nothing about Abe has changed since his last stint as PM.

Meanwhile, former Osaka governor Toru Hashimoto—who would also like to be prime minister—told reporters he would like to meet the Comfort Women.

Hashimoto said he wanted to clearly tell them that while he naturally understand how they feel (Marmot’s Note: No, he doesn’t), there is no evidence that they were forcefully dragged off with violence, threats or kidnapping.

I’m sure they’d take that quite well.

Hashimoto caused a stir when he tweeted at length about the Comfort Women—you can read the translation here.

For their part, the House of Sharing did invite Hashimoto—and The Ish, or all people—for a visit.

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