Osaka mayor's San Francisco visit cancelled

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo Monday, May 27, 2013. The outspoken Japanese politician apologized Monday for saying U.S. troops should patronize adult entertainment businesses as a way to reduce rapes, but defended another controversial remark about Japan's use of sex slaves during World War II. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
June 11, 2013 9:55:14 PM PDT
Remarks made last month by a Japanese mayor about the use of sex slaves during World War II continue to spark protests in that country and here at home. Osaka is San Francisco's sister city and the mayor's visit here was not only cancelled, but supervisors also introduced a resolution condemning the statements.

Tuesday was the day the mayor of Osaka, japan was supposed to visit sister city San Francisco until he made some controversial remarks. Toru Hashimoto's remarks were about the so-called comfort women -- an estimated 200,000 women from Korea, China and other Pacific Rim nations who were forced to serve as sex slaves to the Japanese military during World War II. The Osaka mayor said it was a necessary system that provided relief for soldiers.

The worldwide condemnations have been swift, including in San Francisco.

"As a vet who's been involved in combat, I don't see this justification in any way or form," Nelson Lum of American Legion Cathay Post 384 said.

Lum is backing a resolution introduced Tuesday by Supervisor Jane Kim, asking Mayor Ed Lee to urge his Osaka counterpart to apologize to the victims.

According to Tuesday's Japan Times, a senior official at San Francisco City Hall informed Hashimoto he was no longer welcome, that there would likely be demonstrations and no beefed up security. Lee says there was never an official visit scheduled, but calls Hashimoto's comments horrible.

"We registered it might be a challenge if he did decide to come because of the comments he's made," Lee said.

Among the many outraged is San Francisco's Department on the Status of Women, which issued a statement of condemnation. The executive director also happens to be on the board of the sister-city committee that was planning for the Osaka mayor's visit.

"It would have been very difficult because of what we know as San Francisco values," Emily Moto said.

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