Restoration party lawmaker says Japan has swarms of S. Korean prostitutes

A lower house lawmaker of the Japan Restoration Party, co-headed by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto who is under fire for remarks defending the system of wartime military brothels, said Friday that Japan is "swarming" with South Korean prostitutes.

"There are swarms of South Korean prostitutes in Japan," Shingo Nishimura told fellow party lawmakers during a meeting.

He later retracted the comments as it was "inappropriate to mention the name of South Korea" and submitted a letter stating his intention to leave the party.

"I voluntarily filed the letter (of resignation) because I do not want to cause trouble for the party," Nishimura said.

Japan Restoration Party Secretary General Ichiro Matsui, who doubles as Osaka governor, told reporters in Osaka that he will expel Nishimura from the party, while urging him to resign as a Diet member as well.

"The remarks constitute a violation of human rights and verbal violence," Matsui said. "We cannot let him stay in our party."

Matsui said a final decision will be made after discussions with Hashimoto and Shintaro Ishihara, a House of Representatives member who also heads the party.

The decision comes as the third-largest party in the Diet is trying to contain the negative impact from Hashimoto's recent remarks that defended the Japanese military's wartime brothels.

Nishimura also criticized foreign media on Friday for using the term "sex slaves" rather than "comfort women," a euphemism used in Japan, in what he said was "a campaign" to the grab the attention of people in the West.