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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 6 - 12  > ‘World’s poorest president’ talks about Abe’s war legislation
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2016 April 6 - 12 [WORLD]

‘World’s poorest president’ talks about Abe’s war legislation

April 9, 2016
Akahata ‘current’ column

Former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who was called “the world’s poorest president”, is visiting Japan for the first time. Mujica, 80, said that he has long been interested in Japan which is known for its hard-working people and for having accomplished remarkable economic development.

Mujica received world attention when he delivered an address in a UN meeting four years ago. In the meeting dealing with global environmental issues, the then president squarely criticized the culture of mass production and mass consumption. He raised questions if happiness solely depends on material wealth, and if our lifestyle and our concept of happiness have caused the current environmental crisis. His address impressed the world leaders attending and was later published in Japan in a form of picture book.

After arriving in Japan, Mujica at a press conference said that people have an obligation to work to end war. Regarding Japan’s security legislation that the Abe government forcibly enacted last year, he said that he thinks that by imprudently changing the interpretation of the Constitution, Japan is making a serious mistake.

In his presidential inaugural speech, Mujica said that it is the Uruguayan people themselves who have the power to change their country and that they should not just expect things to be changed for them. The former president proposed the idea that all the people on the earth, not just a handful of persons, deserve to be happy. His words have inspired Japanese people to question the concept of “happiness” and to ask themselves, “Are we really happy?”
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