I was invited to a meeting of the Association of Japanese Local Assembly Members Supporting Uyghurs, whose office is located in the Diet building. The association supports the Uyghur ethnic minority people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China who are suffering the Chinese government’s oppression which infringes on their human rights and which could be labelled as genocide.
The Diet members’ movements have recently become active. It is because the Chinese government’s cruel oppression against the ethnic and minority people in China—such as the case of detaining more than one million Uyghur people in the concentration camps by the Chinese government—has widely been reported in detail across the world through various kinds of social networking services (SNS). This news has given a great impact on social activists and politicians, and particularly, the US President Joe Biden has lodged a protest with the Chinese government against its infringement on the Uyghur people’s human rights, just as the former president Donald Trump did against China. Here in Japan, this issue has come to be treated as a formal political issue to be discussed under its annual schedule for policy discussions in the liberal Democratic Party. Meanwhile, I am anxious that the Japanese government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tends to be very cautious when it comes to the political issues concerning China.
As for the Uyghurs, the miseries of their lives in the Autonomous Region are beyond our imagination, and they cannot return home though they are worried about their families, relatives and friends. At the meeting, personal experiences in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were shared and we exchanged our views concerning the Chinese government’s oppression against the Uyghur people. Mr. Afumetto Retepu, Vice Chairman of the Japan Uyghur Association, recalled, “When the Association of Japanese Local Assembly Members held a local meeting in Onojo City, Fukuoka Prefecture last November, Mrs. Harada warm-heartedly saw us off after the meeting was over.” He was at a loss for words, and I was about to weep in sympathy with him. (The meeting in Onojo City was organized by Mr. Shinya Kotsubo, a member of the municipal assembly of Yukuhashi City.)