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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 30 - August 12  > Ex-UN human rights officer expresses concern over Abe’s militaristic policies
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2014 July 30 - August 12 [POLITICS]

Ex-UN human rights officer expresses concern over Abe’s militaristic policies

August 7, 2014
A former official of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in an Akahata interview on August 7 expressed his concern over Prime Minister Abe’s attempts to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation with the approval of the use of the collective self-defense right and the removal of the ban on arms trade.

Takahashi Saul in May left his position as the deputy director of OHCHR in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He was engaged in projects monitoring and documenting human rights violations in the region.

The excerpt of the interview is as follows:

In the post-war world, Japan has become a nation promoting peace as it has held policies that prove that the term “national security” does not refer to military buildup. People throughout the world are not familiar with the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. They, however, share a common recognition of Japan as a peaceful nation. This provides encouragement for people engaging in various activities abroad like me.

The Abe administration is pushing ahead with its militaristic policies: authorization of the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, lifting of the ban on arms trade, and creation of the state secrets protection law. These policies have been established in an integrated move.

Nobody, except the privileged few in the community involving the defense industry, expects Japan to sell weapons and send the Self-Defense Forces to other countries. I am really concerned about the Abe government’s move toward militarism.

Neo-liberal policies, which have increased social disparities while seeking profits in a short-sighted manner, are deeply connected with nation’s militaristic move. It is apparent that people having financial difficulty may even choose to join the military and that people struggling to make ends meet have no time to care about government policies. Social inequality would lay the groundwork for driving people into battle fields.

To pave the way for a free arms trade with the United States could allow access of militant armed groups in the Middle East to Japan-made weapons via Israel, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Those who are killed by such weapons are often innocent children and women.

Even if Japan stays the way it is, it can make various international contributions. What overseas ordinary citizens want to see is Japan to act as a peaceful nation.
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