Opposing Statement to the Remarks Given by Toru Hashimoto, Japan Reformation Party and the Mayor of Osaka

CGS (Center for Gender Studies, ICU) would like to express strong oppositions to a series of remarks given by Toru Hashimoto, a co-representative of Japan Reformation Party and the Mayor of the City of Osaka, on "comfort women (sex slaves)" during World War II and sex industry in Okinawa since May 13, 2013, as well as to other remarks by his political colleagues supporting him. We regard these remarks are the insults to the dignity of all human beings, especially of women in neighboring Asian countries and Okinawa.

CGS regards that Hashimoto's remarks reveal his own personal, biased understanding of history and gender in the guise of public message. Recognizing that his whole remarks are nothing but a discomfort to many people, CGS would especially oppose to the following points.

1) Hashimoto's remark, "'Comfort women'(sex slaves) were necessary for the war," affirms both wars and sexual crimes, i.e., the praise for the sacrifice of human life and the foremost form of violation of human rights respectively, presenting them as if in necessary relationship. The remark should not be tolerated particularly when considering he is a lawyer, a supposed advocator of human rights.

2) Hashimoto's paternalistic remark, "We must give kind words to former 'comfort women'", emphasizes the false opposition between "powerful men of Japanese government" and "powerless women in neighboring countries", at the same time as blurring the fact that the system was run by Japanese wartime government.

3) Hashimoto's remark, "I encouraged the U.S. troops in Okinawa to make use of local sex industry more often," not only naturalizes the existence of military bases in Okinawa, but also falsely emphasizes local women as sex objects.

4) Hashimoto insults people in sex industry by encouraging the U.S. troops to "make use of" them, presenting them as if they were tools at his mercy.

5) Hashimoto insults men of all ethnicity by associating "men", "war" and "necessity to release sexual drives" in an over-simplified logic.

6) Hashimoto insults people of any gender identity and sexual orientation, by presenting them as both necessary subjects and objects of extreme sexual drives in wartime.

To summarize all the above points, Hashimoto's remarks insult all human beings of any supposed group or of their combination, whether it is "women", "men", Japanese", "Korean", "people in Okinawa", "neighbors in Asia", "American", or else.

CGS does not regard that Hashimoto, who gives public remarks that disregard human dignity in international settings without hesitation, is qualified to his current occupation as a lawyer, a public servant, and a political representative. We would express our strong opposition to his remarks.

Volunteers of Steering Committee Members and of Research Institute Assistants, Center for Gender Studies, ICU