Japanese ambassador sacked for criticizing Iraq War

A Japanese ambassador says he was forced to quit the Foreign Ministry because he criticized the Iraq War, Akahata reported on September 30.

Late last August, Amaki Naoto, former Japanese ambassador to Lebanon, left the ministry he served in for more than 30 years. He said to an Akahata reporter, "My resignation, in fact, was a punitive dismissal because I offered an opinion to the ministry criticizing the Japanese government for readily supporting the U.S.-led Iraq war."

Amaki sent a letter to the ministry before and after the outbreak of the war, requesting that Japan make more diplomatic efforts to prevent the United States from going to war.

Amaki was severely reprimanded by a senior foreign ministry official on the phone about the opinion he expressed, followed by an order to return to Japan in mid-July, and was officially dismissed late August.

Amaki said, "As in other Middle Eastern Arab countries, the Lebanese hold respect and an affinity toward Japan. Encouraged by their pro-Japan sentiments, I have fulfilled my duty as a Japanese ambassador. The Japanese government's outright support for the United States surprised and disappointed many Lebanese people. I thought it should be Japan, with its peace Constitution, that can contribute to bringing about world peace. I just wanted Prime Minister Koizumi to understand that." (end)

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