An outspoken Japanese mayor who outraged many with remarks about Japan’s wartime and modern sexual services stood by his comments on May 16, but said he may have lacked “international sensitivity.”
Hashimoto’s comments added to recent anger in neighboring countries that suffered from Japan’s wartime aggression and have complained about the lack of atonement for atrocities committed during that time.
Hashimoto said on May 16 that he had no intention of retracting any of his earlier comments. But he said his remarks might have seemed inappropriate to people outside Japan with different values.
“If there is one big mistake I made, that might have been my lack of understanding of culture behind the U.S. sex industry–if you mention adult entertainment in the U.S., everyone thinks of prostitution,” Hashimoto said during a live TV talk show from Osaka, in western Japan. “I admit that my international sensitivity was quite poor when I had to operate beyond national borders.”
The ruckus started on May 13 when Hashimoto commented on the wartime “comfort women” who had to provide sex to Japan’s Imperial Army. Hashimoto said that on a recent visit to the southern island of Okinawa he suggested to the U.S. commander there that the troops make use of the legal sex industry.
Yoon also “apologized” for not understanding “American values”. The good news is, that Hashimoto’s outrageous remarks have seemingly persuaded the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to endorse the 1995 Murayama apology and reject Hashimoto’s statements.