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Japanese, Philippine Consulates 'Shamed'

By George Iechika McKinney

Two people giving a speech at night in front of banners

San Francisco, CA – Nearly one hundred protesters marched on the Philippine and Japanese embassies in San Francisco on Dec. 7. The “Tour of Shame” was organized by the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition Against War to protest daily bombings in Afghanistan and the loss of civil liberties throughout the world.

In a prepared statement, the group declared, “We reject calls for revenge and instead call for peace. We condemn the militarization of our home countries in support of the United States' war on terrorism and rollbacks in civil liberties and American ideals of freedom here in the U.S.”

In November, the Japanese government deployed six battle-ready naval ships to South Asia at the urging of the U.S. government – its first full-scale military operation outside of Japan since World War II. “Americans don't realize that Japan has the second largest military budget in the world,” said Miho Kim of the U.S.-Japan No War Network.

“We are demanding that the troops return to Japan, that the Peace Constitution be respected, and that Japan withdraw from the war against terrorism. Japan, as the sole nation to be attacked with the atomic bomb, can play an important role in promoting peace in the international community,” she added.

In recent months, the U.S. stepped up its intervention in the Philippines, where a powerful movement for national liberation is underway. U.S. troops will participate in combat missions.

Since Sept. 11, thousands of immigrants in the U.S. have been detained and many more have lost their jobs or had their loyalty questioned. In the Bay Area, many Pilipino security personnel have lost their jobs due to lack of citizenship. “Why are immigrants being made to pay for the United States' unjust social, economic and military policies around the world?” asked Rhonda Ramiro, a speaker from the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.

She continued, “The current war is about U.S. imperialism – for control of the world's resources and power over the world's people. And we know from history that the U.S. will do this through unequal economic policies ... and even world war, to consolidate its power and control.”

The Tour of Shame ended at the United Nations plaza in downtown San Francisco. “While we were marching here, many people noticed us.” said Monica Lai of Asian Pacific Islanders for Community Empowerment.

Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines member Kawal Ulanday summed it up, “we call for international solidarity as we bring to the forefront the truth about sellout governments loyal to U.S. imperialism.” Tour organizers pledged to continue shaming other consulate offices in coming months.

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