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Tomiichi Murayama Supports Protests

SNA (Tokyo) — Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, 91, explains why he supports public protests, and why he joined young demonstrators outside the Diet building to speak against the Abe War Bill.

Tomiichi Murayama: If there were no voices of opposition and everything just passed through the Diet by majority, it would be a smoother process. It would also be possible to amend the Constitution. And should some situation arise in the future, Japan could just send the Self-Defense Forces into war. It could turn out badly.

But most people realize this is a dangerous situation, and so the people have begun to raise their voices. The government should do their best to reflect public opinion in politics, and have thorough discussions on the security bill in the Diet instead of passing it forcefully. The public has stood up in the expectation that the government will fulfil these duties. I personally think that this a very good thing.

This country of ours, going back a very long time, people have tended to give way to the stronger. They’ve tended to just stay quiet. That’s the kind of custom we’ve had all along. The voices of the people haven’t shown in government. Yes, we’ve had many elections all along, but Japanese politics have hardly been affected at all. Again and again, it is only the Liberal Democratic Party that wins elections and holds power continuously.

In light of this situation, this time, for the first time, we are seeing the people stand up for themselves. They’ve taken interest in what will happen to Japan and they’ve started a movement. They aren’t just leaving everything to the Diet any longer. This time the voices of the people must be heard. The country is being moved by the voices of the people, and this has happened according to their own initiative. The young especially are standing up. That’s what I think is happening.

I think that this will become a driving force to change Japan. If we turn this misfortune into a blessing, and the initiatives of the people create a democratic Japan, this is an exceptionally wonderful thing. It is a key opportunity.

And so what I’ve been thinking on this occasion is that while I don’t know how many more years I will live. But for as long as I live, I will support the people and work alongside them to tell the government to regard their voices as important. I think I have this responsibility. Because of this feeling I too joined the protesters and I gave a speech on the streets with them.