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.
Ethiopia’s Afar region on Friday called on civilians to take up arms against rebels from neighboring Tigray, signaling a potential escalation in fighting that has already displaced tens of thousands this week. “Every Afar should protect their land with any means available, whether by guns, sticks or stones,” regional President Awol Arba said in an interview aired by regional state media. “No weapons can make us kneel down. We will win this war with our strong determination.” Tigrayan rebels launched operations in Afar last weekend, saying they were targeting pro-government troops massing along the two regions’ shared border. A government official said on
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible adult population within just seven days, the Bhutanese Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on Tuesday last week in a mass drive that has been hailed by the UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic.” Bhutan grabbed headlines in April when its government said it had inoculated about the same percentage of eligible adults with the first dose
‘LIBERATE HONG KONG’: The prosecution argued that the slogan was in the tradition of rallying cries for secession dating back to the Qin and Qing dynasties Three Hong Kong judges are to rule tomorrow whether the protest slogan: “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” is a call for secession when they deliver a verdict on charges against a man arrested at a demonstration last year. The landmark ruling could have long-term implications for how a Beijing-imposed National Security Law against secession, terrorism, subversion and collusion with foreign forces reshapes the territory’s common law traditions, some legal scholars say. Democracy advocates say that a ruling to outlaw the slogan would tighten limits on free speech. The slogan was last year chanted during democracy protests, posted online, scrawled on walls,
For almost 500 years, the arch that connects the largest Gothic cathedral in the world with its Renaissance sacristy has offered visitors a sumptuous, if little glimpsed — and even less studied — vision of religious bounty. The 68 beautifully carved plates of food that adorn the archway in Seville’s cathedral offer rather more than bread and wine. There are pigs’ trotters and wild strawberries, aubergines, clams and oysters. There are peaches, radishes, a skinned hare with a knife by its side, a squirrel served on a bed of hazelnuts and a plate of lemons across which a small snake slithers. There