10th January 2020
To: Mr. Toshimitsu MOTEGI (Minister for Foreign Affairs) and Mr. Taro KONO (Minister for Defense)
Tensions rose between Iran and the U.S. following a U.S. strike that led to the death of the major general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on January 3rd, 2020, and as a consequence, the safety of those living in Iran, Iraq, and surrounding areas has been threatened.
In the Middle East, repeated wars have created many refugees and displaced persons, and people have been exhausted by a chain of violence. The recent U.S. killings as well as Iranian retaliation have invited further destabilization to the region. The US has been strongly criticized by the international community for killing the commander as a violation of international law. Furthermore, any threatening acts of force, increase in military power that fuels unrest, or retaliation attack with force, is an act that deprives the local people of their lives and acts to further destabilize the region, and has no validity or lawfulness. As a citizen’s organization that has continued to provide grass roots support for peace without the use of force to protect people’s lives, we express our opposition.
We are deeply concerned about the anxiety born by the citizens of the Middle East, including those in Iraq, which was the location of exchange of military force. Through our support of the region, we have seen that people continue to struggle to recover from the protracted conflict in the region. Any violence brings with it the danger of ruining the precious lives these people have built.
Following the series of tensions between the two countries that began with the U.S. withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, the Japanese government expressed its intention to “play as much of a role as possible to ease tensions in the Middle East and stabilize regional conditions”, and we call for even further efforts to mediate. In addition to the Japanese government, we call on the relevant countries and organizations to make the utmost effort in accordance with international law to reduce tensions between the two countries. Furthermore, it is important for the Japanese government to maintain a neutral stance while mediating between the two countries, and dispatching an armed Self Defense Force to the Middle East would counteract tension relief. We strongly urge the suspension of the dispatching of the Self Defense Forces for purposes of “investigation and research.”
Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), President, Takaki IMAI
Japan Iraqi Medical Support Network (JIM-NET), Representative and Secretary-General, Minoru KAMATA
Ayus Buddhist International Cooperation Network, President, Chiryo MATSUMOTO
Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha, Ekoji Temple, Syohan INABA
Civic Group “Hirogare! Peace Museum Itabashi”
Anti-War Network, Representative, Shigeaki IIJIMA