I am truly heartbroken by the news that comes in every day about Ukraine. Among anything else, all armed attacks must be stopped, and people’s lives must be prioritized. But in reality, this is not happening. What should we focus on? What can we do? I am pondering these questions as I watch the news and social networking sites.
The military invasion by Russia is unacceptable and cannot be justified in any way. They should immediately stop the attack and withdraw from the region. At the same time, however, I feel that the news reports we see and what is conveyed as claims of the Western-centered “international community” are too one-sided. We have seen this kind of dualism of good versus evil in many places in the world: in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, and on the Korean peninsula. The good/evil theory has planted the threat of the “evil” side in people’s minds, escalated hostility, and justified wars to eradicate the “evil”.
We should not overlook the fact that Russia’s security demands to stop the eastward expansion of NATO have been disregarded. The US has provided military assistance to Ukraine since 2014. NATO countries provided portable missiles and other military equipment in January 2022. Russia alone did not create the tensions that led to the recent invasion, but it can also be viewed that NATO pushed Russia into a corner. I feel that the world is now divided more than ever, and we are once again returning to the Cold War era.
Instead of efforts to stop the fighting, there is a chorus of sanctions against Russia and an emphasis on military support for Ukraine. I cannot help but be amazed at the German missile aid and the Swedish and Finnish arms transfer to Ukraine that breaks with the precedent of not providing military aid to parties in conflict.
Japan provided Ukraine with bulletproof vests and other defense equipment. The Japanese government even changed the operational guidelines of the Three Principles on Defense Equipment Transfers to implement this unprecedented decision to send equipment to a country at war. Taking advantage of the crisis in Ukraine, some compare Russia to China and Ukraine to Taiwan and loudly advocate that Japan should enhance its defense capabilities in preparation for contingencies and that Japan should share the nuclear weapons of the United States. Missiles are being deployed in Okinawa and the Nansei Islands and the Self Defense Forces are being equipped with more offensive equipment under the theory of a prospective enemy attack.
The escalation of pressure by military force has resulted in the worst case for Ukraine. What can we learn from this?
The more we increase the threat of enemy aggression and strengthen our military power, the greater the risk that we will be drawn into a war. Once war breaks out, the victims will be the innocent people and ourselves. This is not only the problem of the Ukrainian people, but also our own problem. The Ukrainian people need help. However, any move to provide military aid or to further the division of the world in the name of support for Ukraine will jeopardize our own future.
Japan and other countries in the West should not build a wall with the other side by military blocs but should make a serious effort to tear down the wall and stop the war. Leaders should reach out to China and the countries that voted to abstain at the special session of the UN General Assembly and ask Russia for a ceasefire. These countries are said to be pro-Russia, but none of them wants war. As concerned citizens, we will continue to speak out against the war in solidarity with the world, including the anti-war voices within Russia.
Armed conflict will only create hatred.
March 14, 2022
JVC President, IMAI Takaki
Regarding our local support activities
JVC does not have a base of operations in or around Ukraine and does not have many connections, so we do not conduct support activities there. However, we would like to introduce the Japan Chernobyl Solidarity Fund, an organization with which JVC has close ties and which provides local support. This organization has been providing medical support in the area since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident and has now started emergency support for displaced people in Ukraine.
Japan Chernobyl Solidarity Fund (JCF)https://jcf.ne.jp/wp/archives/6538
JVC also endorses the following statement prepared mainly by the Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC).
Your voice to the world #voiceforpeace
Statement from citizens living in the same era and sharing the same world during the Russia-Ukraine warhttps://voiceforpeace.world/