Mr. Hashimoto said that wartime brothels had a necessary role in providing relief for soldiers. And he also recommended that American soldiers make more use of the local adult entertainment industries.
It is not surprising that his comments ignited vast criticism.
This article of the NYT referred the remarks of Mr. Hashimoto partially. Actually, Mr. Hashimoto made a lot of comments with Twitter. He also answered to the interviewer of Mainichi Shinbun. He confirmed that the summary of this interview (in Japanese) was relatively precise.
According to them, he made some important comments not introduced widely. First, he admitted Japan should be responsible for the victims of WW II. Second, he said wartime brothels should not be acceptable in modern age. Third, it is not clear that usage of adult entertainment industries will reduce sex crimes, said he. Of course, he has never justified the coercion for working as a prostitute.
I understand his core opinion is summarized into the two passages; Wartime brothels were widely used in past wartime in most countries. And now, the application of legal adult entertainment industries in Japan may be acceptable even among the US army.
About the first point of view, I have little knowledge. But I imagine it is true. Some researchers admitted the existence of wartime brothels in several countries. For example, Mr. Ikuhiko Hata, a Japanese historian, said that the wartime brothels had a role to prevent soldiers from sex crimes against local citizens.
The second issue is more complicated.
There is little doubt that the sex industry has a certain role in some countries. Recently, some women are willing to work at an adult entertainment industries.
However, forced working may exist to be problematic, especially in younger age. They should be distinguished each other. Some associations for women’s right blamed strongly Mr. Hashimoto. But whether they truly consider the right and opinion of women working at those facilities is doubtful. On the other hand, it is possible that coercive situation occurs for some reasons. There are lots of factors; Yakuza (Japanese mafia), illegal drugs, poverty, abusive parents, and so on. What will happen if soldiers in American army come into an adult entertainment industry? Is it a risk or not? It is hard to answer. The commander prohibits soldiers from entering those industries, maybe to avoid causing any trouble.
By the way, is it true that utilization of sex industries reduce sex crime? As far as I know it is unclear yet. The other day I heard a research about this. After opening of pornography, sex related offensive cases were decreased. But cases reduced were relatively light crimes such as peeping, and rapes were not prevented. In short, the result was that citizens got tolerant to light crimes.
I guess, a few psychopathic people will continue causing crimes even if sex industries were opened. Whether accidental cases are reduced or not is unclear. Perhaps, reported cases will be decreased.
After all, I appreciate the remark of Mr. Hashimoto to some extent.
However, his behavior is meaningless. There is no expectation for the US army to change their policy based on his remark. They cannot officially admit that soldiers need sex industries. As a politician, Mr. Hashimoto made a comment not useful to change the world, only embarrassing others. It is his fault, I think.