U.S. Forces Japan accepts Hashimoto's apology

U.S. Forces Japan on Tuesday accepted Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's apology for his earlier remarks urging U.S. forces to use Japan's legal adult entertainment industry to prevent the recurrence of sex offenses in Okinawa.

"I have no reasons to doubt the sincerity of the mayor's apology," a senior USFJ official said in an e-mail message to Kyodo News, commenting on condition of anonymity.

"We hope this ends the discussion of the remarks," the official said, adding that U.S. Forces Japan has focused more on continuing its mission here.

Hashimoto, who co-heads the right-leaning Japan Restoration Party, told reporters on May 13 that he had asked a senior U.S. military officer based in Okinawa, southern Japan, to let Marines use local sex-related services, saying, "Otherwise, they cannot control the sexual energy of wild Marines."

Amid an outcry at home and abroad, Hashimoto apologized to the U.S. military and people Monday at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, and said he retracts such comments.

The senior USFJ official had earlier said Hashimoto's remarks go against the policies of the U.S. Department of Defense as well as U.S. law.

Meanwhile, the official made no comment on Hashimoto's claim that Japan alone was not to blame on the issue of wartime sexual services for soldiers by women euphemistically known in Japan as "comfort women."