Saturday, May 15


"Withdraw!," say these swollen characters before a symbol of peace. Japanese citizens protest prime minister Koizumi's support for Bush's campaign of misguided military and political aggression in Iraq. These protesters, who belong to a group of researchers who study the effects of depleted uranium on soldiers and civilians, were vastly outnumbered by the prepossessed shoppers that passed them by. Japan has been swept away in a tide of conservatism and political cluelessness, as was amply demonstrated upon the return of Japanese hostages from Iraq in April. The former hostages were subjected to near unanimous scorn by the Japanese public and press (with the exception of the left-leaning Asahi Shinbun, whose editors wrote in their favor), and the pro-Bush, war-nostalgic government even forced them to pay monetary compensations for the "disturbances" that their capture and release had caused. It was easy to see in these petty compensation requirements warnings against other Japanese not to complicate with hair-brained humanitarian missions the Japanese government's serious-minded meddling in Iraq. One Japanese woman's complaint (that echoed actual statements from government officials) was typical: "I don't want to pay tax money for taking care of those hostages!" Of course, she had not even asked herself how much tax money is being spent on the "humanitarian" mission currently being conducted by Koizumi's soldier boys, and which mission is undoubtedly motivated by the promise of privileged access to Iraqi oil. In short, the nation has been encouraged to heap scorn on these true humanitarians while the phoney humanitarians with machine guns in their arms pass as national heroes.
To join citizens of the world in protesting this ugly situation, please read and sign, if you will, this petition addressed to Koizumi.