Japanese election victors say No to Bush’s war in Afghanistan


This video is called Peace protest, Hiroshima, Japan, March 2003, a few days prior to the start of the Iraq War.

Reuters reports:

Japan opposition risks U.S. ire over Afghan mission

By Linda Sieg

TOKYO – Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party and its allies agreed on Monday to oppose extending support for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, a move that could sour security ties with the United States.

The decision by the opposition – who won a majority in last week’s election for parliament’s upper house – also risks deepening divisions within the Democratic Party, a sometimes fractious amalgam of former ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members, ex-socialists and hawkish younger conservatives.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to extend a law enabling Japan’s navy to provide fuel and goods for U.S.-led coalition warships in the Indian Ocean as support for operations in Afghanistan.

On Monday, an embattled Abe, who has vowed to stay in his post despite the drubbing at the polls, called for opposition cooperation, but the opposition appeared unmoved.

“To cooperate in America’s war is not necessarily the path to take,” Democratic Party Secretary-General Yukio Hatoyama told reporters, adding his counterparts in the tiny Social Democratic Party and People’s New Party had shared that basic view.

Democratic Party leader Ichio Ozawa had already come out against the extension and, despite calls from his predecessor to rethink that stance, party policy chief Takeaki Matsumoto said switching gears would be tough.

“We aren’t saying from the beginning that we won’t give approval … but fundamentally we want to discontinue the law and have them come home,” Matsumoto told Reuters in an interview.

The opposition position has sparked concern in Washington, and U.S. ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer is expected to press the case for the mission when he meets Ozawa on Wednesday.

Last week’s election deprived the LDP and its junior partner of their majority in the upper house, meaning the Democrats and their allies can reject bills approved by the lower chamber.

“NORMAL NATION”

Bills rejected by the upper house can be returned to the lower house and enacted by the ruling parties’ two-thirds majority, but that is a time-consuming process and the law enabling the Indian Ocean operation expires on Nov. 1.

Ozawa, 65, a former LDP lawmaker who bolted the party in 1993, has long advocated transforming Japan into a “normal country” whose security policy is less constrained by its pacifist constitution.

But he has also urged Japan to adopt its own diplomatic course, even when it differs from that of the United States.

“U.S.-Japan relations don’t mean doing everything that the United States wants,” policy chief Matsumoto said.

The Democrats’ most recent election manifesto also calls for all Japanese troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. Ground troops sent to Iraq by Abe’s predecessor completed their non-combat mission last year, but about 200 air force personnel are in Kuwait to airlift supplies to the U.S. military in Iraq.

Talking about the Iraq war; from British daily The Independent:

Brian Haw: ‘It is strange that they are spending so much money prosecuting me’

By Kim Sengupta
Published: 07 August 2007

As the Camp for Climate Action began planning in earnest for next week’s protest at Heathrow, one veteran protester against the Iraq war was also enjoying a moment of vindication.

The High Court ruled that restrictions imposed by police on Parliament Square anti-war protester Brian Haw, as he continues his peace camp demonstration were unlawful “by reason of lack of clarity”.

For Mr Haw, by now a veteran of the law courts, it was another triumph in the face of an extraordinary barrage of actions by the Government in an attempt to ban his one man anti-war protest on Parliament Square.

3 thoughts on “Japanese election victors say No to Bush’s war in Afghanistan

  1. Japan opposition chief says “No” to Afghan mission
    Tue Aug 7, 2007 5:30AM EDT

    TOKYO (Reuters) – The head of Japan’s main opposition party reiterated his opposition to extending support for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan and said his party might submit a bill to scrap Tokyo’s mission to help rebuild war-torn Iraq.

    The policy put forward by Ichiro Ozawa, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, could sour Tokyo’s security ties with Washington.

    “The Afghan war was started by (U.S.) President (George W.) Bush, who said it was a war to be fought by the United States,” Ozawa told reporters on Tuesday.

    “Therefore it had nothing to do with the United Nations or the international community,” Ozawa said.

    He said his party may also propose withdrawing Japan’s air force personnel dispatched to help with reconstruction work in Iraq. But such a bill would most likely be overturned by the lower house, which is dominated by the ruling coalition.

    Ground troops sent to Iraq by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s predecessor completed their non-combat mission last year, but about 200 air force personnel have remained in Kuwait to airlift supplies to the U.S. military in Iraq.

    Abe also wants to extend a law enabling Japan’s navy to provide fuel and goods for U.S.-led coalition warships in the Indian Ocean as support for operations in Afghanistan.

    While Ozawa opposes this, he said his party would leave open the possibility of Japan taking part in Afghan operations sanctioned by the United Nations.

    Last week’s election deprived Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner of their majority in the upper house, meaning the Democrats and their allies can reject bills approved by the lower chamber.

    Bills rejected by the upper house can be returned to the lower chamber and enacted by a two-thirds majority, but that is a time-consuming process, and the law enabling the Indian Ocean operation expires on November 1.

    Ozawa said Japan should forge a “military and non-military” alliance with the United States on an equal footing.

    “I do not think that supporting the Bush administration’s policy on Iran and Afghanistan is everything for Japan-U.S. relations. There are many other important issues.”

    “As long as we call it ‘the Japan-U.S. alliance’, we must have relations on an equal footing.”

    Ozawa, 65, a former LDP lawmaker who left the party in 1993, has long advocated making Japan’s security policy less constrained by its pacifist constitution.

    The DPJ position has prompted concern in Washington, and U.S. ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer is expected to press the case for continuing Japan’s Afghan mission when he meets Ozawa on Wednesday.

    © Reuters 2007.

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