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Tadae Takubo

【#283】Can Japan Counter Terrorism by Giving Top Priority to Human Lives?

Tadae Takubo / 2015.01.29 (Thu)

January 26, 2015

     When Japanese Red Army terrorists hijacked a Japan Airlines plane in 1977, then Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda paid $6 million in ransom and released these terrorists and prisoners into the international community while making a strange remark that "human lives are heavier than the earth." Amid the ongoing hostage crisis where a group suspected as the Islamic State radical Muslim organization has taken two Japanese citizens hostage, we in Japan still hear a big chorus calling for giving top priority to human lives, as heard nearly 40 years ago.

Former senior bureaucrat makes exaggerated claim for Prime Minister Abe to resign
     I respect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who has continuously taken leadership in dealing with the crisis since his detection of the crisis in Jerusalem, called for "giving top priority to human lives" and returned home with his overseas tour shortened. But I am outraged by opposition leaders saying that Prime Minister Abe's pledge of $200 million in aid for measures against the Islamic State triggered the crisis and that Japan incurred the Islamic State's hatred by sending Ground Self-Defense Force troops to Iraq in 2004 amid the Iraq war in a manner to join a Western crusade. Furthermore, I feel like I am in another world when hearing Kyoji Yanagisawa, who had been a senior Defense Agency official and had the highest bureaucratic post of the assistant chief cabinet secretary, saying that "the only way to save the lives of the hostages is the resignation of Prime Minister Abe who has vowed to fight against the Islamic State."
     While whether the kidnappers of the two Japanese belong to the Islamic State has yet to be confirmed, I question if Japanese politicians and bureaucrats have understood the Islamic State that has repeatedly taken hostages, demanded ransom and killed hostages. Based on the Caliphate system for the early Islamic history, the Islamic State has pressed Muslims to purify themselves and non-Muslim people to convert to Muslim, and brutally slaughtered or enslaved those who have resisted the pressure. Islamic State militants invaded Iraq and indiscriminately killed people last June, sending shock waves through the world.

There are things that are more important than human lives
     Islamic State militants refuse to abide by international law as they deny Western cultures. They don't understand humanism. They do not take responsibility for breaking down negotiations because they have no government. Will they willingly release hostages if Japan pledges not to confront with the Islamic State? There is no other country similar to Japan where a former senior government official asserts that Prime Minister Abe's resignation is the only way to lead the hostages to be released.
     We have no choice but to violently counter the forces trying to violently destroy a democratic society or an order in which we live now. There are things that are more important than human lives.

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.