TOKYO: Japan has changed its policies on weapons so that it can export lethal weaponry to other countries, endangering civilian populations, two experts said at a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.
SUGIHARA Koji of the Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT) said that Israel is using American planes to commit “genocide” against the Palestinians and warned that Japanese technology being used to kill civilians.
“Israel is conducting air strikes on Gaza and engaging in genocide. Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, Japan’s Nippon Aircraft Supply and a trading company called Itochu Aviation are in partnerships to support arms sales in Japan. This indirectly supports the Gaza airstrikes and thus we strongly oppose them.”
“Japan is yet to acknowledge Gaza crisis as a violation of international humanitarian law and has yet to ask for a ceasefire. It is the duty of Japan’s civil society to hold the government accountable, to ask for a ceasefire and to put a stop to war crimes.”
IMAI Takaki, the President of Japan International Volunteer Center, pointed out that Japan’s new Official Security Assistance (OSA) program is a military assistance program that “provides defense and military equipment as well as infrastructure to the forces” of various countries that operate in line with Japan’s defense and security policies.
Imai says these policies must be opposed as it’s “the abandonment of our non-military principles” and in contrast to Japan as a peace-loving nation, which has a clause in its constitution renouncing war.
“The introduction of OSA is an enormous shift of Japan’s security strategy and the decision was made in the National Security Committee in the Cabinet without any discussion or any consultation in the national parliament,” Imai said.
Countries reportedly in line for OSA assistance include the Philippines, Malaysia, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.
“I believe the conduct is in clear of violation of the spirit of the Constitution,” Imai stated. “Newspapers and television stations have surveyed the public and the public opinion about the pros and cons of exporting lethal weapons has shown that 60 to 70 percent are against the idea but only a handful of legislators. Addressing the issue of lethal weapons is not even on the table in the Diet sessions right now.”