A senior member of the ruling Liberal-Democratic party (LDP) has criticized the mayor of Nagasaki for remarks he made on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push toward Japan's more assertive defense policy, as the city marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing last Saturday.
In his "peace declaration" speech at the ceremony in Nagasaki's Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe's government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan's commitment to its pacifist pledge.
Writing on his blog, House of Representatives member Masatada Tsuchiya criticized Taue for making comments about Japan's national defense policy in his speech, Sankei Shimbun reported Monday. He said that if Taue feels so strongly about the issue, he should resign as mayor of Nagasaki and contest a seat in the Diet.
Japan is divided over the government's decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and play greater roles overseas by exercising what is referred to as collective self-defense. To achieve that goal, Abe's cabinet revised its interpretation of Japan's war-renouncing constitution.
Pacifism, enshrined in the constitution, is the "founding principle" of postwar Japan and Nagasaki, Taue said.
"However, the rushed debate over collective self-defense has prompted concern that this principle is shaking," he said. "I strongly request that the Japanese government take note of the situation and carefully listen to the voices of distress and concerns."© Japan Today/AP