My Response to Mayor Toru Hashimoto of Osaka, Japan

"In the circumstances in which bullets are flying like rain and wind, the soldiers are running around at the risk of losing their lives ... if you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary.  Anyone can understand that."

—Toru Hashimoto, mayor of Osaka and co-founder of the right wing Japan Restoration Party

Toru Hashimoto’s comments on May 13, 2013 are an affront to humanity.  Acts of sexual violence against any man or woman or child at any time and under any circumstance are inexcusable.  No justification can be made for these heinous acts against 200,000 women and girls in China, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan.

I have been researching the lives of surviving Filipina “Comfort Women” of WWII since 1997.  In 2001, I spent eight months touring the abduction sites and “comfort stations” of fifteen survivors.  Their testimonies reveal the grotesque details of Japanese soldiers systematically kidnapping women and girls, holding them against their will, and repeatedly raping, humiliating and berating them.

The “Comfort Stations” survivors have taken me to are not bordellos.  The women were kept in churches, classrooms, government buildings, fish bins, and shacks. They were systematically raped—sometimes more than a dozen times a day.  They were not allowed to bathe or given a moment to rest and clean themselves.  They were not all women.  There were girls without their menses.  Some were only eight, some old women.  They were treated like animals.

In 1943, when seventeen year-old Pilar Frias resisted her attackers in Bikol in the Philippines, one of the Japanese soldiers burned her face with a cigarette.  With the end of a bayonet, another solider slashed her nose. Five soldiers raped Pilar Frias then tied her at the waist to three other women and dragged the women behind them as the soldiers patrolled the countryside. The four girls moved as one unit.  When one lay down to sleep, four lay down to sleep.  If one fell, the others followed. When one was raped, all four were raped. Repeatedly. 

It is long past time that the Japanese government takes full responsibility, makes a clear and sincere apology and acknowledges these war crimes against humanity. 

Hear Congressman Ed Royce's response to Mayor Hashimoto:


elmaz said…