U.S. lawmakers speak out against Hashimoto

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U.S. lawmakers speak out against Hashimoto

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s shocking words justifying sex slaves for the Japanese soldiers during World War II, calling the so-called comfort women “necessary,” continues to draw international scrutiny, including strong denouncement from U.S. lawmakers.

The Democratic Party’s Representative Mike Honda of California and Representative Steve Israel of New York released a joint statement Wednesday in Washington condemning the remarks made by Hashimoto “regarding Japan’s enslavement of 200,000 young women during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands.”

Hashimoto, co-leader of the newly formed Japan Restoration Party, told reporters that comfort women “were necessary at the time to maintain discipline in the army” to assuage “emotionally charged soldiers” during wartime.

Honda, who spearheaded a unanimously-approved resolution in 2007 calling on Japan to formally apologize for its wartime crimes and passed the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, called Hashimoto’s remarks “contemptible and repulsive.”

Honda continued, “Mayor Hashimoto’s comments demonstrate why a formal acknowledgement, apology and acceptance of historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner by the government of Japan is still necessary.”

By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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