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Left and right protesters in Japan offer contrasting ‘welcomes’ to US President

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25 May 2022 02:05:28 GMT9
25 May 2022 02:05:28 GMT9

Arab News Japan

TOKYO: US President Joe Biden had a mixed reception on this arrival in Japan, with nationalists welcoming him and left-wing groups opposing his visit.

A group of Japanese nationalists called Ai Koku To (Love Country Party) welcomed President Biden to the Akasaka guest house in central Tokyo, while students and unionists took part in a demonstration near the American embassy.

However, most Japanese appeared indifferent to the demonstrators and the political significance of the visit, apart from those interested in political celebrity spotting at the meeting venue.

The nationalists turned up in two blue trucks sporting American and Japanese flags with speakers shouting “Welcome Biden” while a conference took place between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and the U.S. president. The nationalists support the United States’ opposition to China and its expansionist ambitions in the region.

In a counter-demonstration, more than 750 helmeted students wearing dark glasses and accompanied by trade unionists demonstrated in central Tokyo near the American embassy and the official residence of the Prime Minister on Sunday.

The Zengakuren student league members chanted slogans protesting the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden and the upcoming meeting of the Quad leaders in Japan.  They opposed the various alliances that are being forged, which they believe could result in World War III.

As they passed Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s official residence, they denounced what they called “the militarization of Japan” and the increase in military spending to 2 percent of GDP. They also protested the presence of military bases and missiles on the southern remote Nansei Islands, and opposed the Kishida administration’s proposed constitutional reforms.

The demonstrators were concerned by the nuclear threats of Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for international resistance against war.

According to a representative of Zengakuren, four students were arrested on May 13 for planning to take part in the demonstration against the Quad summit.

The reason for their arrest was that they gave false names when they registered at a hotel. Under Japanese law, they can be detained for up to three weeks.

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