Japan's most prominent opposition leader yesterday rebuffed an appeal by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to maintain its support for the "war on terror" in Afghanistan, which has been unpopular here.
The opposition seized one house of parliament in elections last month following a raft of domestic scandals. It wants Japan to bring home its ships which refuel US and other warjets and vessels in the Indian Ocean.
"You don't have to follow the unilateral opinion of the United States," main opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa told Merkel in a meeting, as quoted by Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, the opposition's shadow foreign minister.
Merkel has called for as many countries to take part in the "war on terror" as possible.
After meeting on Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Merkel said that the international community must "never give in to the threat of terror."
Germany is heavily involved in Afghanistan, where it has contributed some 3,000 troops to the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and has six Tornado reconnaissance planes helping to spot Taliban hideouts.
"I am against the current ISAF deployment, although I would support a deployment clearly authorized by a decision of the United Nations," Ozawa told her, according to Yamaguchi.
Yamaguchi quoted Merkel as telling him: "If Japan is to play a greater role in the international community, it has to take greater responsibility."
Japan has been officially pacifist since its defeat in World War II, making all of its deployments overseas controversial.
Some 54.6 percent of Japanese voters oppose extending the Indian Ocean mission, said a survey of 1,000 voters released yesterday by the right-leaning newspaper Sankei Shimbun.
Abe, an outspoken conservative, has championed a stronger military role for Japan and revision of the US-imposed 1947 Constitution.
He said after Ozawa's rebuff of Merkel that he would continue to seek cooperation with the main opposition Democratic Party on extending the Indian Ocean mission.
‘GRAVE CONCERN’: A critic of the government died immediately following his complaints of torture at the hands of security forces, a human rights group said Students on Friday clashed with police in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, as anger mounted at the death of a writer and government critic in a high-security jail. At least 18 police and an unknown number of protesters were injured in the clashes, authorities and witnesses said, amid international demands for an independent investigation into the death of Mushtaq Ahmed. An Agence France-Presse correspondent witnessed police using batons and firing tear gas at students who staged a torchlight march calling for “justice” near the University of Dhaka. At least six students who allegedly attacked security forces with torches were detained, police said. More protests were planned
LEGAL ORDEAL: The heavy caseload involving 47 defendants and the vagaries of a Beijing-imposed security law made it difficult for the court to rule on bail requests Dozens of Hong Kong democracy advocates charged with subversion yesterday returned to court to complete a marathon bail hearing that was adjourned overnight when four defendants were rushed to hospital after hours of legal wrangling. Police on Sunday arrested 47 of the territory’s best-known dissidents for “conspiracy to commit subversion” in the broadest use yet of a sweeping National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory last year. The defendants represent a broad cross-section of Hong Kong’s opposition, from veteran former pro-democracy lawmakers to academics, lawyers, social workers and youth advocates. Hundreds of supporters gathered outside a courthouse on Monday for the
China, under growing global pressure over its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign to push back, including explicit attacks on women who have made claims of abuse. As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a growing number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focusing on discrediting the female Uighur witnesses behind reports of abuse. Chinese officials have named women, disclosed medical data and information on their fertility, and accused some of having affairs and one of having a sexually transmitted disease. Officials said that the information was evidence of bad character,
The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago’s airport in late January and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was beaming. “Today is a day of joy, emotion and hope,” he said. The source of that hope: China — a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged about 500 million doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press (AP). With just four of China’s many