Japanese youth oppose government’s military buildup in conjunction with U.S.’ anti-China campaign
Trade union members hold signs reading "Peace No War" in Tokyo. | Eugene Hoshiko / AP

TOKYO—Shouting in chorus, “No to Japan’s possession of enemy base strike capabilities!”, “No to a war-fighting Japan!”, hundreds of young people marched in a demonstration through Tokyo’s famous shopping district of Shinjuku on March 18.

This action was called for by an organizing committee consisting of various youth groups, including the Democratic Youth League of Japan (DYLJ) and the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) youth section.

The aim was to increase public support for opposition to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s move to impose higher taxes on the people of Japan to finance a planned huge expansion of the armed forces.

Holding a placard reading, “No to tax hikes for military buildup!”, a 22-year-old college student said, “I think government policies using a large amount of tax money for a military buildup rather than for education, social services, and people’s livelihoods are wrong.”

The student added, “When thinking Japan may turn into a war-fighting nation, I get depressed. However, in today’s action, I met with many people feeling the same way about the government policies and received positive energy from them.”

Under pressure from the U.S., the Japanese government has been taking moves to strengthen its military as another component of the encirclement of China. Kishida is up against Japan’s anti-war constitution, however. Its Article 9 forbids Japan from building up an offensive military force and effectively outlaws participation in launching wars.

A 31-year-old female protester who came from Kanagawa Prefecture said, “I hope Japan, as the nation having the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, will make efforts to pursue peace diplomacy and not to strengthen its military capability.”

DYLJ Vice Chair Nakayama Ayumi expressed her determination to work hard to attract more young people to the movement opposing the government move to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation.

Similar demonstrations also took place in Kyoto and other cities.

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Shimbun Akahata
Shimbun Akahata

Shimbun Akahata (しんぶん赤旗) is the daily newspaper of the Japanese Communist Party.