It turns out America hasn’t cornered the market on reprehensible politicians. The mayor of Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, just said the 200,000 female slaves who were forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II were part of a “necessary” system.

“If you want them to have a rest in such a situation, a comfort women system is necessary. Anyone can understand that,” said Toru Hashimoto, quoted in Japanese media by way of the BBC.

Hashimoto is the founder of something called the Japanese Restoration Party, and is enough of a political star that he was previously elected Japan’s youngest governor.

Although overshadowed by the Holocaust, Japan committed many war crimes against its neighbors during the second world war, including the killing of millions of civilians, human experimentation, the use of chemical and biological weapons, and the sexual enslavement of so-called “comfort women.” Generations of Japanese people have been trying to make up for the crimes of their ancestors (or ancestors’ government) with apologies and aid programs. It can’t be easy to rebuild good will in China, South Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere with a Toru Hashimoto sounding off.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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