WASHINGTON — Reps. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) and Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) on May 15 strongly denounced remarks made by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto regarding Japan's enslavement of 200,000 young women during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Reps. Steve Israel and Mike Honda

Hashimoto told reporters this week that these so-called “comfort women” were “necessary” to assuage the emotionally charged Japanese soldiers. From the 1930s through World War II, the Imperial Armed Forces were responsible for systematic sexual servitude of young Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipina, Dutch, and Indonesian women, some as young as 13 years old. 

“Mayor Hashimoto's remarks that comfort women were 'necessary' are contemptible and repulsive,” said Honda. “His view is an affront to history, humanity, and most of all to the young women who were coerced into horrific psychological, physical, emotional, and sexual violence, including gang rape, forced abortion, humiliation, and mutilation.

“As someone who was put into an internment camp as an infant, I know we must never be ignorant of the past, and that reconciliation through appropriate government action admitting error is the only resolution likely to be long lasting.

“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. The surviving grandmothers, who I have met with numerous times, are the human face of wartime violence against women, and I am still haunted by their heart-wrenching testimonies. Their restored justice and dignity are long overdue.”

Israel said, “I am simply disgusted by the remarks uttered by Mayor Hashimoto regarding the history of 'comfort women.' These survivors of physical, sexual, and psychological violence deserve sincere and formal apologies and recognition for the atrocities they endured – not an abhorrent explanation by a public official.

“I strongly condemn Mayor Hashimoto's remarks and continue to urge the Japanese government to offer a formal acknowledgement and apology for the atrocities committed by its Imperial Armed Forces during World War II.”

In 2007, Honda introduced a resolution calling on Japan to formally apologize, and addressed the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment. The resolution passed the House unanimously.

Both as a congressman and as a member of the California State Assembly, Honda has introduced resolutions calling on Japan to apologize to victims of its wartime actions, including survivors of the Rape of Nanking and POWs who were used as slave laborers.

7 replies on “Reps. Honda, Israel Condemn Osaka Mayor’s Comments on ‘Comfort Women’”

  1. I think I should explain a little more about comfort women.

    When I’m asked if a comfort woman is a sex slave or a prostitute, my answer is prostitute. But, it is actually more complex.

    It is true that comfort women led miserable lives. There were unfortunate women who did sexual service for Japanese soldiers. Many of them did so against their will though many volunteered to do so. Many of them were sold by their parents to support their lives during the extremely poor time period. Many volunteered to do the business to support their
    family. Still, many were deceived for the business by Korean brokers in case of Korean comfort women. However, again, there is no doubt that they led miserable lives whether it was their choice or not. Also, about half of comfort women were Japanese who never asked for compensation…it is shame to ask for money for their prostitution.

    So, if one define the contemporary Korean prostitutes who are working all over the world now, about 80,000 women , are sex slaves (they are bound to their debts), I think we can say that the comfort women during WWII who did the service for Japanese solders were sex slave to sex brokers/traders. Japanese soldiers were clients.

  2. Jae,

    >It is shame, look at all these people with no proof…not truth…claim…
    You seem that you don’t know anything about comfort women.
    It is Chinese/Korean who do not have any proof, truth. They do not have any objective evidence at all except unverified, emotional testimonies.

    Japanese have too many objective evidence to say that comfort women were prostitutes.

    Chinese/Korean activists/lobbyists mix the comfort woman issue with rape cases to disgrace Japan/Japanese.

    Read all these papers/videos before you discriminate Japan/Japanese.

    – A US Military Report: Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report No. 49.
    Quote: “A “comfort girl” is nothing more than a prostitute or
    “professional camp follower” attached to the Japanese Army for the
    benefit of the soldiers.”

    – THE TRUTH ABOUT THE “COMFORT WOMEN” by Moteki Hiromichi

    – The Truth about the Question of “Comfort Women” by Ogata Yoshiaki


    Nishioka Tsutomu

    Also, these are some videos to help you understand the problem.



    – 字幕【テキサス親父】偽慰安婦強制連行問題の原因はこいつだ! (Video spoken in English)

    – Endangered Japan: Book2: Sex, Lies, and Comfort Women

    – Demythologization of the myth of the Comfort Women: Part1. What actually happened

    – South Korea’s Vietnamese Comfort Women

    YouTube video
  3. It is shame, look at all these people with no proof…not truth…claim…

    As long as these kind of Japaneses are around… the Japan can never be trusted.

    I guess it is hard for them to face the ugly truth…. it is like ex Nazi Saying … concentration
    camp can never be proof of Jew Jenocide by Germans…


    The USA, South Korea, China are discriminating Japan/Japanese.

    The fact is that numerous countries had comfort woman “system” in many wars.

    The USA had/used/bought comfort woman during Korean War, and the occupation in Japan.

    Nevertheless, shameless US politicians have been giving resolutions to accuse Japan.

    Singling out Japan to accuse for sex in the battle field is simply

    The USA should realize it soon.
    If the USA want to tackle with women’s rights, the USA should accuse all countries including the USA of the prostitution for military.

    Also the USA should stop raping Japanese people now in Okinawa.

  5. When you accuse someone, you have to show objective evidence for it.
    Objective evidence is very important to avoid false accusation at a court.

    Korean activists have only unverified, emotional testimonies to accuse Japan. All Korean and Japanese serious experts in the comfort woman dispute say that there is no objective evidence at all to prove that Japan as a government/military abducted Korean women.

    On the contrary we have a lot of objective evidence to say that comfort women were prostitutes.

    Cheap politics/journalism are humiliating Japan/Japanese.

  6. Mike Honda gets money from a powerful Chinese right-wing organization.
    He is too busy to harass/humiliate/disgrace/discriminate Japan/Japanese to weaken the tie between Japan and the USA.

    He needs votes from Chinese American and Korean American to be re-elected.


  7. I have life magazines around 1944 and 1948 and1950,
    If It is true, I think I can find the article Japan’s enslavement of 200,000 young women during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
    But I could not find it.
    After WW2, American Army left the children in Japan.
    Madame Sawada took care of children.( View magazine 1952 Apr).
    I hope Reps. Steve Israel and Mike Honda consider Japanese women that time.

    Also Please watch and read Japanese want to say.

    WJF Project : WJFプロジェクト – YouTube




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