Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More gubenatorial stupidity?

Same s***, different governor? This time its comfort women, who were "necessary" according to the Osaka governer Toru Hashimoto.

I mean, that's just stupid, right? Comfort women aren't necessary! The American's never did th-- oh wait.. Yes, they did, actually. And they got the idea from the Japanese, at that.

Despite shooting down my own argument here, I'm still inclined to say that the comfort women weren't necessary. They might have acted as a "breakwater" between the troops and "regular" women and girls, but considering they recruited the women at exceptionally low wage from a newly impoverished* population does much to blur the lines between "regular" women and comfort women.

So perhaps some of the population at large was protected, but only by recruiting members of the population that likely had little choice.

That said, I never heard of Allied troops with comfort women available during the liberation of Europe. The idea of being shot at making you require a shag is somewhat alien to me**. Surely the best way of letting troops rest is to move them away from the front lines for a while?

So what is the point of this discussion? That Hashimoto is an idiot? Unfortunately, I'm inclined to disagree, no matter how stupid the above is, some of Hashimoto's other ideas are pretty good: he supports cooperation in the case of several island disputes, and tends toward a compromising stance on the Futenma air bases. On the whole though, Hashimoto's nationalist stance, and apparent eagerness to revert rape issues to prostitution ones isn't something I'm willing to overlook.

What really gets to me about this man is that he isn't one of the "old-boys" of Japanese politics, or really an "old boy" of any sort at all. He is the product of late post-war Japan. Born in the 1960s, he's seen Japan's economic rise without having witnessed the destruction that war wrought on his country. There are millions of Japanese who have been brought up in the post-war society, and some of these are becoming the political big-wigs. I fear that they don't have the perspective of their elders, and with the effective censorship of the war in textbooks, I don't see things improving any time soon. From my limited outside view, it seems as though pragmatism is the only thing keeping the right-wingers in check at the moment.

Naoki Inose's (the Tokyo Governor) has come out with some stupid comments, but Inose is pretty harmless. Indeed, Inose exudes an image of cutesy Japanese anime-style stupidity. But people like Hashimoto also exist, who are undoubtedly intelligent, but harbour very dangerous ideologies.

*ie, decimated

**indeed the idea of being shot at in general is alien to me, though I've been in the line of practice fire before (and through no fault of my own, I'll add)

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