In a cordial atmosphere at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today World without Wars spokesperson, Rafa de la Rubia had the opportunity to congratulate Japan for her anti-nuclear status and called on the country’s new government to maintain Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution at all costs.
In a letter addressed to the Japanese Prime Minister and handed to Yoshinori Takeda, Deputy Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Non-Proliferation and Science Department, Rafa de la Rubia, President of the civil society organisation “World without Wars”, called on Japan to *“represent the true sentiment of the majority of her citizens and advance three initiatives at an international level: the elimination of nuclear weapons; the renunciation of war as a means to resolve conflicts at the same time as stridently defending article 9 from attack by those who wish to eliminate it; and the closure of foreign bases that are maintained on the territory of other nations.”* Regarding the latter, de la Rubia said during the meeting, *“We also encourage Japan to consider removing foreign military bases from her soil.”*
The Ministry official thanked the World March for having come to Japan and highlighted the efforts of civil society to raise awareness of the nuclear issue and pressurise governments to act for nuclear abolition. And emphasising the priority the new Japanese administration places on disarmament issues, he said, *“The Japanese Government always underlines the importance and the big efforts by civil society… Regarding your documents which we will receive now, and that we will absolutely hand those documents to the prime minister’s office. The Prime Minister in comparison with the former administration puts a very big stress on this issue. It’s high time to do some action from Government’s side and from your side.”*
In reply Rafa thanked the Deputy Director and made an invitation to the Government of Japan to take part in the March itself given that there is no Japanese representation in the base team currently.
Later on World March Japan organiser Makiko Sato expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the Official. *“It’s the same story all the time; they say the right things to civil society in meetings and then act in a totally contradictory way. But I’m very pleased because I think that may be the first time that anyone entered the Foreign Ministry and suggested the closure of US bases.”*
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