Demand Japanese Mayor Apologize for Comments on Wartime Prostitution

Target: Toru Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka, Japan

Goal: Demand Hashimoto Apologize for insensitive comments about women forced into prostitution during WWII

Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, Japan, recently came under fire for extremely insensitive comments about women forced into prostitution during World War II. These women, colloquially known as ‘comfort women’, were slaves from neighboring countries who were forced to provide sex for men in the Japanese military. Hashimoto claimed that there was no evidence to prove these women were forced, and that their slavery was necessary for the troops’ morale. Outrage at this blatantly untrue and sexist statement is widespread, yet Hashimoto continues to stand by his words.

Hashimoto claimed that there was no evidence to prove that ‘comfort women’ were coerced into sexual relations with the Japanese military. This is despite historic reports that hundreds of thousands of women from Korea and China were forced to provide sex, and 75% of them died in captivity. After his false claim, Hashimoto went on to say that “Whether it was of their own volition or against their will, the comfort women system was something necessary…For military morale back then, it was probably necessary.” There is never a necessity for hundreds of thousands of women to be forced into sexual slavery, but Hashimoto refuses to realize this.

Other prominent Japanese politicians have officially denied Hashimoto, stating that that his views do not reflect those of his party or other Japanese officials. However, Hashimoto has yet to recant or apologize for his statement. He has denied historical facts and downplayed the suffering of many women. This atrocity cannot be forgiven if it is denied. Hashimoto must acknowledge the history of his country and apologize for denying and downplaying it.


Dear Mr. Hashimoto:

Recently, you talked about the history of ‘comfort women’ in World War II. You denied that these women had been forced into sexual slavery, and insisted that despite their willingness, they were ‘necessary’ for the troops. This is a blatant denial of historical facts, as well as extremely insensitive to women. There is never a necessary reason for women to be forced to provide sex.

I ask you to apologize for your comments. You cannot deny or downplay the atrocities of history. Your remarks were extremely insensitive and untrue. These ‘comfort women’ were enslaved by the Japanese military, and your excuse of ‘necessity’ does not dismiss that fact. Recognize the truth and apologize for your comments.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit:  U.S. Consulate General – Osaka via Wikimedia Commons

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