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Symposium panel takes strong anti-war stance

Date Posted: 2005-08-27

Three panelists moderating a symposium in connection with commemorations of the Japanese World War II surrender are very much opposed to future wars.

The three, speaking at a Naha Symposium this week in connection with the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, warned listeners against patriotism and liberalism, saying they “are very dangerous.” Writer Hideko Asa, is former Okinawa Teachers Association chairman. Joining him in stage was Genpei Ishikawa, who represents anti-Futenma Air Base Ginowan residents who’ve filed a noise pollution suit against the U.S. military. The third panelist was novelist Metori Shishun.

They spoke against modern liberalism, and against patriotism being exhibited by Okinawans. “These people try to lie about history,” one said. “It was by Japanese military hands that Okinawan people committed suicides. Village people did not die by themselves. Military forces did it.”

Shishun said “we shouldn’t agree for patriotism in society, otherwise war will start again.”

Cartoonist Yoshinori Kobayshi sketches caricatures about Japanese people who love Japan. He joined the panelists opposing free liberties, saying “we never should go before war again,” noting that there should be no further Emperor worship in coming generations. “We must not make any war anymore.

Panelists said “Japanese, including Okinawans, are getting sick.” Another charge was that politicians and economists are sick too. These people try to make war again. We have to say ‘no more war’”.

One symposium observer questioned the panelists’ motivations though, saying panelists don’t know the Okinawan people, and especially the young people. He said the three speakers have no idea what Okinawans need, and what the priorities are in Okinawa.

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