Hashimoto to urge 'strict discipline' for U.S. military

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Sunday he would urge the U.S. military in Japan to enforce strict discipline for its servicemen while reiterating he would retract his earlier remark suggesting they use Japan's adult entertainment industry in order to prevent them committing sex offenses.

Hashimoto said on a TV program that he would make the request at a press conference slated for Monday at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, where he would also retract the remarks about the U.S. military in Japan relating to the adult entertainment industry, and offer an apology to the U.S. people and military.

"I will urge (the United states and the U.S. military) to enforce strict discipline in a full-fledged manner," at the press conference, Hashimoto, who co-heads the opposition Japan Restoration Party together with former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, said.

On Saturday, Hashimoto said he will retract his remark and make the apology at Monday's conference.

He repeated his excuse that it had been his intention to urge the U.S. military to "be more responsible" amid a rising number of sexual assaults within the U.S. military against female soldiers.

"The situation within the U.S. military concerning the sexual assault against women soldiers has been horrible and President (Barack) Obama is outraged about it," Hashimoto said in explaining the background and intention of his controversial remark.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that he had no intention of retracting his remark that the system to recruit women into sexual servitude "was necessary" to maintain discipline in the Japanese military during World War II.

On May 13, Hashimoto said it should be understood that such women were necessary for brave soldiers who had been at the front line of the war. He also said that, when he visited Okinawa to inspect the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in late April, he asked a senior U.S. military officer based in the prefecture to let Marines use local adult entertainment services.

Hashimoto's remarks have drawn criticism in and outside Japan, including from the U.S. State Department.