'Enigmatic Japan' discussed at Japan P.E.N. Club public assembly

The Japan P.E.N. Club on February 12 held a public assembly in Tokyo to encourage people to think about peace in "enigmatic Japan." More than 400 people packed the Japan Press Center hall to listen to Inoue Hisashi (writer, Japan P.E.N. Club president), Tsujii Takashi (writer), and Sakai Keiko (Institute of Developing Economies).

Inoue said how strange it is for the LDP, which has made achievements in politics and the economy as well as in international relations based on the Japanese Constitution, to reject it.

He made the audience laugh by stating that he wonders why such calm and quiet Japanese people support such violent political parties.

Tsujii related an episode concerning a senior Chinese government official, a friend of his, who had said that Japan is like a riddle because all Japanese corporate executives see Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro as problematic, but when it comes to elections, they support the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

He called on the audience to think about the concept of peace, asking, "Is the peace we now enjoy in our daily lives a peace that moves forward to eliminate wars from the world or a peace that is creating dangers to keep wars only in poor parts of the world?"

Sakai, who is well-versed in Iraqi affairs, emphasized, "The argument justifying whatever means, including the use of force, can only add fuel to violence."

The Japan P.E.N. Club published a statement calling for the defense of the freedom of the press and an early withdrawal of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces from Iraq.

The day's meeting was the fourth of the series which the Japan P.E.N. Club began shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. (end)

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