I Refuse to send My Daughter to War

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I’m angry and also ashamed of Japanese PM Abe, his cabinet and of ourselves -Japanese citizens. Three days ago, Abe changed the interpretation of our constitution and paved the way for our military to go to fight overseas.

Under our constitution, which was created after the horrific experience of WWII, Japan has been barred form using the military to resolve conflicts except for self-defense. Now, following cabinet approval, our military can be used for “collective self-defense” to participate in wars involving any allies even if there is no immediate threat to Japan.  Pressure from bureaucrats, who blindly follow U.S. requests, and those of the weapons industry, are behind this but Abe has been wanting to militarize Japan for quite some time. The decision became his first big step toward realizing his dream. But I’m wondering how many Japanese realize that Abe’s dream is costing our common people’s future blood and lives?

I understand that those who support Abe’s decision feel threatened by neighboring countries, especially China, which recently accelerated its aggressive claims to expand its territories. But in order to defend Japan, we can just keep our self-defense force as it is and certainly do not need to participate in ‘someone else’s’ war.

As a photographer who has experienced several battlefields, my hatred towards war is not logical but a physical reaction. The sound of constant explosions tearing your eardrums, the smell of rotten bodies, dead infant with their brains scattered, piles of bodies dumped at morgues … all these things get in your body and become unforgettable. No matter what kind of justifications politicians or leaders make, for the people on the ground war just causes nothing but destruction, deaths and hate. War is wrong and evil.

Seventy years since our war ended, I doubt if any incumbent Japanese politician has any experience on battlefield, including Abe. What they are missing is the physical experience of war and empathy. If your body knows how cruel and disgusting the battlefield is, or at least you can imagine it, there’s no way you can make such an easy decision to lead citizens to fight.

What the Japanese government needs is not changing constitution to go to war but enhancing diplomacy skills. As it reflects on a recent series of ‘slips of the tongue’ scandals, the quality of politicians has terribly deteriorated. Many of them seem to be so childish and have no brain for international relations or history. It may be too late for those people but how about to educate them, get help from specialists and scholars, or add more new young blood who has international experience and a broader view? We won’t have to worry about the war if we have a good relationship with neighboring countries. That’s far more important than putting more money on the military budget.

But at the end, it comes down to how we, ordinary people, take action. Like the last general elections with only 50% voting rate, if we remain unconcerned and looking away from the reality, there is no hope. It will be far too late to complain when your son or daughter get drafted and killed on the battlefield on the other side of the world. I have no desire at all to send my daughter to battlefield for those politicians and bureaucrats.

(My exhibition “Message from Battlefield” will be held at Canon Galleries in Japan from July 10 ~. Please stop by if you are interested. http://cweb.canon.jp/gallery/archive/takahashi-hotspot/index.html )










(お知らせ キャノンギャラリーにて7月10日より個展「紛争地からのメッセージ」開催 興味があればお越し下さい。http://cweb.canon.jp/gallery/archive/takahashi-hotspot/index.html )




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