TOKYO: A demonstration took place in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district on Tuesday to protest Japan’s participation in the NATO summit and the government’s moves to export lethal weapons abroad.
Japan, which chairs the G7, does not have the legal right to export lethal weapons, but Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio is pushing Japan towards increasing militarization by raising the military budget to 2 percent of its GDP.
Another issue is Japan’s relationship with NATO and the opening of a NATO office in Japan. The possible expansion of NATO into Asia is a concern for pacifists who fear the threat of nuclear war and the encirclement by the United States of China could increase the chances of escalation.
The nearly 300 demonstrators who took part in the march called for peace in Ukraine the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They also called for NATO forces supporting the war to stand down and objected to Britain’s shipment of ammunition containing depleted uranium and medium-range missiles capable of reaching Russian territory.
While Ukraine is waging a counter-offensive against Russia, it lacks ammunition to defeat Russia. The United States has approved the shipment of cluster bombs that could endanger civilians even after the conflict is over. These weapons are prohibited by the international convention of Oslo, which was ratified by Japan.