Most Japanese decry mayor's view: polls

Updated: 2013-05-21 07:18

(China Daily/Agencies)

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A large majority of Japanese people disagree with a high-profile politician who said women forced to provide sex during World War II were a military necessity, polls issued on Monday said.

Up to 200,000 "comfort women" from Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere were forcibly drafted into brothels catering to the Japanese military during World War II.

Outspoken Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto said last week these women served a "necessary" role keeping battle-stressed soldiers in line, sparking outrage in China and South Korea and inviting US criticism.

Two surveys carried out over the weekend indicated that Hashimoto's opinion is not shared by many, despite regular foreign criticism that the Japanese public has still failed to come to terms with the country's bellicose past.

In a poll of 1,550 Japanese households conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, 71 percent of respondents said Hashimoto's comments were "inappropriate" against 21 percent who said the comments were "appropriate".

In a separate survey among 3,600 households by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, 75 percent of those who answered said the comments were "problematic", while 20 percent said they had little or no problem with them.

The United States on Thursday condemned Hashimoto's opinion as "outrageous". In response, he claimed that US troops abused Japanese women during their seven-year occupation after Japan's 1945 surrender.

China, South Korea and the Philippines have all voiced their disapproval at Hashimoto's comments.

On Sunday he took to Twitter to demand that Tokyo do more to boost women's rights at a G8 summit taking place in Britain next month.

Agence France-Presse