Tadasu Matsuo, Leader of the Rose Mark Campaign
We offer our condolences for the lives of all Ukrainians and Russians who have become victims due to the recent invasion of Ukraine by the Putin regime. We also offer our heartfelt sympathy to those who have been affected by the war in Ukraine, to those who have been displaced, and to those who are living in fear of the armed forces. We also express our passionate solidarity with the many courageous people of Russia who are standing up to show their Anti-war stance in the face of repression from the authoritarian regime.
War forces ordinary people to kill each other—who otherwise should not have to fight at all—for the benefit of a few political and economic elites. In solidarity with all the peoples of the world who oppose war, we call for withdrawal of troops and immediate ceasefire as we condemn the aggression of the Putin regime and the Russo-American power struggle that led to it.
We also call for the following ideas of initiatives.
Let us show support to the people of Russia and Ukraine who are speaking out against the war of aggression.
Let us cooperate as much as possible with humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and to the displaced people. Let us demand the government to do this and, if necessary, to accept them with an adequate system of support.
Let us call for the government to extend the visas of Ukrainians living in Japan and, depending on the future situation, give them a right for permanent residence.
If there is hate against Russians in Japan, let us take a stand against it. We call on the government to ensure the safety of Russians who have the courage to speak out against the Putin regime and, if necessary, to offer them asylum as political refugees.
Let us boycott companies that do business for the interests of Putin and his cronies.
The war is likely to increase the price of fuel and wheat. This should be dealt with through the reduction of the consumption tax and suspension of the petrol tax. Let us take the actions internationally to ensure that major oil firms do not use this war as a pretext to raise the price of oil unfairly. At the same time, let us call for a shift to renewable energies to undermine the economic foundations of authoritarian regimes.
Incidentally, the Japanese government has been criticising Russia on this matter as if it had nothing to do with it. However, the coalition government of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito such as under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has consistently striven for friendship with the Putin regime. In 2016, while the memories of Crimea’s annexation two years earlier were still fresh, they invited President Putin to the Prime Minister’s home prefecture of Yamaguchi and made the residents welcome him. Accordingly, the coalition government of LDP and Komeito has made a tacit approval of and been complicit in Putin regime’s stance to date.
From my standpoint, this is an attempt to ensure the security in Japan’s north in the face of a potential struggle with China for control of Southeast Asia, where Japanese companies have been making deep inroads. It has long been pointed out that the overseas expansion of these companies that came with the abandonment of the domestic market is the main cause of the hollowing out of employment opportunities, the elimination of small and medium-sized enterprises, the lack of aggregate demand, and austerity policies in Japan.
And now the Kishida administration is promoting the construction of a system to guarantee the ability in dominating the economies of Southeast Asia, with constitutional changes at the forefront. The Japanese government is instigating a power struggle over Southeast Asia similar to that of between the US and Russia over Ukraine, which led to the war. In Japan, there is a widespread tendency to compare itself with Ukraine, and to reject Article 9 of the Constitution. However, it is Russia that should be compared with Japan today.
Therefore, the only way to truly stand up for the Ukrainian people is to put a stop to this trajectory and work to prevent Japan from becoming Putin’s Russia of today. And if we want to show our true solidarity with the Russian people, who stood up without fear of oppression, we must take from their courage what we—who have the grace of not yet being so oppressed for the moment—should do.