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We strongly condemn the brutality committed by ‘Islamic State’ group

Statement by INOUE Hisashi
Secretary General
National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
February 2, 2015

An online video was released purportedly to show the slaying of Japanese freelance journalist GOTO Kenji by an “Islamic State” militant. This is another unconscionable brutality following the killing of another Japanese man, YUKAWA Haruna. Zenroren condemns these acts with strong indignation. We also express sincere condolences to their families and relatives.

The need now is for the international community to make a united effort to isolate the “Islamic State” group by cutting off its resources and prevent foreigners from joining it as militants. That’s the way we can isolate and disarm them. Zenroren strongly urges the Japanese government to work in closer cooperation with the international community and do all it can to play its part. We also demand that the government’s responses to the recent tragic incidents be fully examined by the Diet and other concerned agencies so that the government can draw lessons and take steps to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

At the same time, the international community is called upon to continue to make united efforts to get rid of hotbeds for the growth of not only the “Islamic State” group but any terrorist groups. Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, along with the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), and the ILO (International Labour Organization), are warning of the expanding economic inequality and pointing out the need to not only get rid of social uncertainties but also end such inequalities for the sake of sound economic growth. An Oxfam International survey shows that the richest one percent owns 48 percent of the world’s wealth and projected to have more than 50 percent in 2016.

Given this serious reality of widening economic inequality, the task is for the Japanese government to play an active role in concert with the international community in such areas as humanitarian assistance to developing countries in the effort to fight poverty, elimination of discrimination based on race or religion, and the effort to improve education. It is also important to shift the political gear to put people’s livelihoods first by achieving stable employment situation and improving and expanding social security programs.

It is very grave that Prime Minister Abe stated, “It is constitutionally possible for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to assist in air strikes by US and other forces against the Islamic State.” We must never allow the Japanese government to take advantage of the recent tragedy to rush to prepare a bill that would enable the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense in violation of the Constitution or to take such an underhanded approach that would promote deploying Self-Defense Force united abroad ostensibly with the aim of rescuing Japanese nationals. Zenroren makes clear this position to the Abe administration and warns that a chain of hatred could cause second and third tragedies.

Most likely victims of war or terrorist attacks are socially disadvantaged people such as children and elderly people. Only in peace can people live a life without fear. Zenroren will further strengthen solidarity with peace-loving peoples around the world and take action in order to eliminate terrorism, poverty and discrimination.

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