The conservative mayor of Osaka, Japan, said Monday that forcing Asian women to prostitute themselves to Japanese soldiers during World War II was a necessity to "maintain discipline" among the ranks.
"To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time," said Mayor Toru Hashimoto, who's also a co-leader of an emerging conservative political party, in The Associated Press. "For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That's clear to anyone."
Up to 200,000 Asian women, mostly from the Korean Peninsula and China, were forced to be "comfort women" for Japanese soldiers, AP reported.
An unnamed South Korean government head responded to Mr. Hashimoto's comments to AP, calling it disappointing that a high-ranking Japanese official "made comments supportive of crimes against humanity and revealed a serious lack of a historical understanding and respect for women's rights."
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