TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko says Japan has taken action against Hamas, as it views it as a “terrorist organization”, but she remained vague on how her government defines “terrorist.”
At a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Kamikawa was asked by Arab News Japan to clarify how Japan regarded Hamas.
“Although there is no internationally established definition of terrorism, I understand that it is generally an act of killing or injuring a person for the purpose of forcing states to accept terrorism or terrorizing society based on specific principles,” the Foreign Minister replied.
“In such a general sense, our government sometimes uses the term ‘terrorism’. The latest attacks by Hamas and other (Palestinian groups) are brutal indiscriminate killings and kidnappings, targeting a large number of civilians,” Kamikawa explained confirming that “Japan has strongly condemned these as terrorist attacks.”
A Cabinet decision on September 30, 2003 designated Hamas as an entity subject to asset-freezing measures. In addition, nine individuals and one organization related to Hamas were added to the list in accordance with a Cabinet decision on October 31 this year.
Palestinian official sources, however, told Arab News Japan that the United Nations has not placed Hamas on the terrorist list. “Japan follows a unilateral policy with countries that support war crimes in Gaza,” they said.
The officials questioned why Foreign Minister Kamikawa did not apply Japan’s definition of terrorism toward “Israeli terrorism” when around 20,000 Palestinians, mostly children, have been killed by Israel’s deliberate bombing of civilian buildings and hospitals in Gaza.
Palestinian officials have urged Japan to follow the United Nations’ view and to avoid the “double standards” of western Europe and the United States “that grant the terrorist Israeli government license to kill Palestinian children in what an increasing number of people globally are terming as genocide.”
Japan has said repeatedly that Israel has the right to defend itself and has condemned Hamas unequivocally, yet, it remains largely silent on the killing of Palestinians and only expresses vague concern over the “human casualties.”
Japan’s position echoes that of the G7 countries who have been supporting Israel’s militarily action to “root out Hamas” till the end.