I’m Kyo Kageura, Tokyo East Timor Association and ex-IFET-OP Japan Coordinator (didn’t go to ET though).
Free East Timor! National Coalition, Japan, is against the current Japanese government plan to send the Self Defence Force (SDF) to East Timor as part of PKF, issued a statement in mid-July, and we are currently doing a FAX campagin against the plan.
While knowing that Xanana and Horta said OK to the sending of SDF and understanding it, we cannot agree with the dispatch of SDF. Please read the following and, if you agree to our stand, please act on with us to stop sending SDF.
Allow me to be a bit long.
We, Free East Timor! Japan Coalition, are against this move, because, rather than contributing to the security in East Timor, this plan is to use (abuse) the Timorese situation to re-militarising Japan. Let me elaborate the point:
- Relation with East Timor,
* The Japanese government supported Indonesia during 24 years of its illegal occupation of ET, always voted against the resolution in UN (GA, SC, HRC). Even lobbied for Indonesia.
* Once, an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, answering to our inquirey, said “it’s OK as nobody knows East Timor.”
* Even after Santa Cruz massacre in 1991, the Japanese government stated “we don’t see ODA (overseas aid) to Indonesia is problematic” (against its own ODA principle which states it’ll not give aid to countries with human right problems).
* When Ramos Horta came to Japan in 1996, the then Japanese high officials declared that they would not see him.
* In 1999, when Japan dispatched 3 (only!) civilian police, the government defined pro-independence and pro-autonomy militias as two fighting parties, with no mention to Indonesian military or police.
* In September 1999, Japanese government stated that it will not stop ODA aid to Indonesia, while repeating Indonesia to take the responsibility of security in East Timor.
* Even now, the Japanese government claim (on its homepage) that 1975 invasion as of “volunteer force”.
* Last but not least, during WWII, Japanese army occupied East Timor and many Timorese suffered forced labour and sex slavery. Japanese government did nothing about this.
- With respect to current political
* The very legality of SDF under the Japanese constitution, which states “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained”, is still under debate (many laywers claim it’s illegal).
* Recently, the ultranationalistic sentiment becomes stronger in the government (and unfortunately in the society as well).
- History textbooks that distort the historical facts passed the ministorial checking.
- Tokyo governor, Shintaro Ishihara, keeps repeating racist claim againt expecially Chinese and Korean people. He moblised SDF in “security simulation” in Tokyo.
- PM Jun’ichiro Koizumi visited Yasukuni shrine, spiritual center of the wartime Japan, on 13th August.
* Many sectors talk about the revision of the constitution, but only of item 9 (no war, no military). Also, new “war cooperation agreement” was signed between US and Japan a few yeas ago. There’s a systematic move for militarisation of Japan.
Given these, we believe that the current dispatch of SDF to East Timor is a starting step of re-militarising Japan and a cover-up of the Japanese criminal record on East Timor.
What you can do:
Send FAX to:
* Ms. Makiko Tanaka, Foreign Minister of Japan
* Mr. Taku Yamazaki, Secretary General of the Liberary Democratic Party
* Japan should not dispatch SDF, whose legal status is still unclear (to say the least) to other countries.
* Japan should not abuse East Timor to promote its remilitarisation and to cover-up of its criminal record on East Timor, not only during the Indonesian occupation but also during its own occumation during WWII.
* Japan should support the reconstruction of East Timor by peaceful means, including pursuading Indonesian authority to solve the WT problem, actively supporting an international war crime tribunal, providing technical, legal and humanitarian aid. In doing these, Japan should clarify its own responsibility in relation with East Timor.
Kageura Kyo email@example.com
Tokyo East Timor Association
Timor Lorosae Information
Page (in Japanese)
# LH Bulletin Japanese version is available, except for 2-2 and 2-5.
Free East Timor! Japan
Coalition page (in Japanese)
3 ETimorese NGOs write to Japanese PM re SDF Letter added
"The Japanese government has shown their concern for East Timor’s reconstruction and has contributed the largest amount of funds to the Trust Fund for East Timor. Drawing from our experience of the past and view of the present, we offer the following views: * The Japanese government must publicly acknowledge that past policies have caused great suffering to the East Timorese people. ... * The plan to send a Japanese Self-Defense Force to join the PKF in East Timor should be abandoned. ... * There is no need to introduce a new military contingent from Japan to the international troops now present in East Timor. ... * We believe that security problems around East Timor’s border will not be solved by increasing the PKF." Yayasan HAK; Kdadalak Suli Mutu Institute; Gerakan Mahasiswa Pro Demokrasi; Grupo Feto Foin Sae Timor Lorosa’e; East Timor Women Against Violence; East Timor Students Solidarity Council; Sa’he Institute for Liberation; Fokupers; LBH “Ukun Rasik An”; Lao Hamutuk; Centro Desenvolvimento Economia Popular; Fundacao Haburas.
29 Matsuno: Japan's Self-Defense Force face up to the militia?--NO WAY!
Analysis added Aug 4
"Wherever in the world the trouble spot might be, the Government wants to send the SDF only to score political points, and certainly in the case of East Timor it has never given serious thought to securing peace. ... By this scenario, Japan can achieve its diplomatic targets. Firstly, contributing to this UN PKO will allow Japan to push more strongly its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Secondly, Japan can protect its interests in Indonesia by avoiding being dragged into an open conflict with Indonesian politicians and generals. Contributing to peace in East Timor is not a matter of consideration in Japanese diplomacy and therefore it will be the first thing to be compromised when it is found to be at odds with Japan's relations with Indonesia." Akihisa Matsuno, Osaka University of Foreign Studies
16 Free East Timor Japan Coalition letter to the Defense Agency
Letter added Aug 4
"At this time we ask that you reexamine the proposal now being considered to send Self Defense Force troops to East Timor. ... In recent years the Japanese Government has eschewed forthright debate on the constitutionality of the Self Defense Forces and has instead sought to gain recognition-by-default of the SDF through having it participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations, in which context it is treated just like the armies of other countries. On the other hand, moves to set up a specialized organization, separate from the SDF, to deal with aspects of refugee relief, cease-fire and referendum observation in conflict areas have been pushed into the shadows where they have ground to a stop. For the government to act in this way is to jeopardize the rule of law that constitutes the very foundation of any democratic state; this is suicidal." Free East Timor Japan Coalition
16 KY: 2 Japan GSDF officials to visit E. Timor News added
"Two Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) officials will shortly visit East Timor to collect information on the state of security in the territory, Japan’s Defense Agency said Monday. ... The two are also expected to gather information about PKO in East Timor, given agency chief Gen Nakatani’s desire to study plans to dispatch personnel of the Self-Defense Forces in the event of new PKO there." Kyodo
30 JCCJP: Japanese church leaders oppose Japanese troops in East Timor
Position statement added July 10
"Most Japanese people want Japan to contribute to world peace first and foremost by strictly adhering to its war-renouncing “peace constitution.” ... The present government plan to send the SDF to join a peace keeping operation in East is directly opposed to theses, the fervently held wishes of our people. Furthermore, this newly planned dispatch of Japanese troops to East Timor is particularly callous in light of the Government’s refusal to this day to fully acknowledge, apologize for, or compensate the army’s sex slaves and other victims of Japan’s occupation of East Timor during the Pacific War." Japanese Catholic Council for Justice and Peace
12 Xanana: Symposium on “Reconciliation, Tolerance, Human Rights and Elections”
Speech added Feb 15
"We believe that after the rebellion of the Manufahi, the Timorese People, obviously still divided by kingdoms, lived an era of a better relationship among themselves until the period before the Japanese invasion. The Japanese invasion, from 1942 to 1945, was another test to the courage of the Timorese people which concurrently managed to live with the invaders while maintaining a determination to fight its presence. I am from the generation post-Japanese invasion. From this period until the Indonesian invasion 30 years went by." President Xanana
10 2000 KY: ETimor: 2 ex-sex slaves break silence at NGO tribunal
Added Dec 11
"Two East Timorese women broke over half a century of silence Sunday and told of their ordeals as sex slaves of the Imperial Japanese Army at a mock tribunal to try the Japanese government over its responsibility for the recruitment of so-called ''comfort women'' before and during World War II." Kyodo
8 2000 DPA: Women demand apology & compensation for War-time Japanese
mistreatment Added Dec 9
"The Japanese government, which failed to respond to the tribunal's invitation to participate in the event, continues to deny any legal responsibility for the suffering of the former comfort women. Sexual violence committed by the Japanese Imperial Army was hardly touched by the 1946-1948 International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, set up by the Allied Forces after the war." Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Gunn: Timor Loro Sae: 500 Years - Wartime Timor: 1942-45
Book extract added July 10
"Many Timorese including liurai paid with their lives [at the hands of Japanese military 1942-45] either for standing neutral or for alleged support of Australian guerrillas. ... The number of Timorese who died during the war is impossible to calculate with precision but is of the order of 40-70,000 out of a total prewar population of around 450,000. The disruption to native agriculture and the breakdown of prewar society stemming from the harsh system of food collection and corvees imposed by the Japanese inevitably led to famine and other hardships, including debilitating disease. ... The issues of Japanese wartime compensation including the claims of so-called "comfort women" or sexual slavery in Timor first became public in 1997 but only in the Macau media where it was taken up by Jose Ramos-Horta speaking on behalf of the Timorese people." Geoffrey C. Gunn, author, Timor Loro Sae: 500 Years
27 1999 Noam Chomsky: East Timor Retrospective - An overview and lessons
Analysis added Dec 28
"The story does not begin in 1975. East Timor had not been overlooked by the planners of the postwar world. The territory should be granted independence, Roosevelt's senior adviser Sumner Welles mused, but "it would certainly take a thousand years." With an awe-inspiring display of courage and fortitude, the people of East Timor have struggled to confound that cynical prediction, enduring monstrous disasters. Perhaps 50,000 lost their lives protecting a small contingent of Australian commandoes fighting the Japanese; their heroism may have saved Australia from Japanese invasion. A third of the population were victims of the first years of the 1975 Indonesian invasion, many more since." Noam Chomsky
BD: Military and political aid to Indonesia - A collection of recent reports, articles and news