Japanese Mayor`s meeting with 2 former sex slaves cancelled

Last Updated: Friday, May 24, 2013 - 13:46

Osaka: Two South Korean women who were forced to serve as wartime sex slaves cancelled a scheduled meeting on Friday with Toru Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka, a Japanese city, saying it is "worthless”.

"Hashimoto has been under fire over his claim that sexual servitude was "necessary to maintain discipline" in the Japanese military.

Although refusing to withdraw the remarks, he said it is necessary to apologise to women euphemistically known in Japan as "comfort women" regardless of whether they were forced to provide sexual services.

Today, Kim Bok Dong, 87, and Kil Won Ok, 84, said in a statement that they reject his "performance to apologise" and it is pointless to meet with him.

Their support group told a press conference that Hashimoto, also co-head of the opposition Japan Restoration Party, intends to try to restore his reputation by meeting with the two women.

One of the supporters said, "We have determined that he will never sincerely hear what former comfort women have to say and offer an apology.

"Last August, Hashimoto termed the 1993 statement issued by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, which acknowledged the Japanese military`s involvement in recruiting the women and apologised to them, as the main cause of embarrassing ties between Japan and South Korea, prompting Kim to visit Japan to seek a meeting with him.

But he was on leave at the time and rejected the request.

On May 13, Hashimoto said anyone can understand that such women were necessary for brave soldiers who had been at the front line of the war.

Two days later, Hashimoto said what he meant was that people at that time believed the women were necessary.

Hashimoto has refused to withdraw the remarks, saying not only Japan but many other countries used women at battlefields and that it is not fair that only Japan is criticised.

Hashimoto also urged US military personnel in Japan to make use the country`s adult entertainment facilities, although he later admitted having made an improper remark. (KYODO)


First Published: Friday, May 24, 2013 - 13:45

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