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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 November 8 - 14  > Japan’s responsibility as chair of G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting called into question
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2023 November 8 - 14 TOP3 [WORLD]

Japan’s responsibility as chair of G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting called into question

November 10, 2023

A joint statement issued by G7 Foreign Ministers on November 8 justifies the invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces, emphasizing “Israel’s right to defend itself”. Japan chaired the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, but it did not exercise its leadership to call for a ceasefire. Its lack of responsibility is called into question.

Since Japan relies on the Middle East for nearly 90% of its crude oil, it has not backed specific military operations in the region. It has developed its own Middle East diplomacy urging self-restraint toward both Israel and Palestine. Japan should have taken by now the initiative in ceasefire mediation efforts.

Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko, five days after the Hamas attack, talked on the phone with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and said, “It is a matter of course for Israel, in accordance with international law, to have a right to defend itself and its people.” On October 27, Japan abstained from voting on a UNGA resolution calling for “an immediate humanitarian truce” while 121 UN member states voted in favor.

The G7 Japan 2023 Foreign Ministers’ Statement incorporates “humanitarian pauses” and excludes a “ceasefire”. This means that they only call for short breaks to evacuate civilians and bring in humanitarian supplies.

Regarding the ongoing situation, the Japanese government is following the United States which sides with Israel and opposes a ceasefire. Foreign Minister Kamikawa, during a Japan-U.S. foreign ministerial talk on November 7, told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Japan gives “utmost support” to the U.S. diplomatic efforts on the current situation in Israel and occupied Palestine.

The Japanese government has never voiced opposition to U.S. wars. Japan will not oppose any war if the U.S. gives it endorsement.

The world knows that Japan is the only atomic-bombed country in the world and experienced the horrors of nuclear attack. Many people in Middle Eastern nations have had expectations that Japan would understand and empathize with the suffering of Palestinians. Japan should not betray their expectations.

Past related article:
> JCP calls on governments concerned to work to stop genocide in Gaza [November 7, 2023]
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