File photo: Former sex slave Kil Un-ock (centre), who was forced to be a "comfort woman" for the Japanese troops during World War 2, takes part in a protest against Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.

Tokyo -

Chinese women forced into sexual servitude in wartime Japan plan to ask a Japanese bar association to take disciplinary action over controversial remarks made by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, reports said on Monday.

In comments that prompted international criticism in May, former lawyer Hashimoto argued that the use of so-called “comfort women” was necessary to maintain discipline among Japanese soldiers.

The women, all in their 80s in China's Shanxi province, had already sent a protest letter to the Osaka municipal government calling for Hashimoto to apologize and withdraw the comments, the Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed sources.

The Chinese women will tell the Osaka Bar Association that they were damaged by the Japanese Imperial Army, and angered by Hashimoto's remarks, Kyodo said.

The association would then have to decide whether to turn down the women's demand, expel the lawyer-turned-politician from the association, or issue a reprimand.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and some ministers in his cabinet have repeatedly denied the allegations of wartime sexual slavery. - Sapa-dpa