Now is the time to raise our voices together!

Women are still in danger of facing violence everywhere, in the streets, homes, at work. It keeps occurring even now not only in Afghanistan, but also in Japan, regarded worldwide as a country with democracy prevailing and basic livelihood being secured. Thus all over the world women have to live through various hardships.

There are quite a few factors which bring about violence, to name but a few, world spread maldistribution of wealth, overcapitalism, Japanese domestic administration under the umbrella of super power’s militarization, working conditions in which feminization of poverty is outliving
In Japan where we live, since 63 years ago when a big war ended, women have been living surrounded by tremendous fear of violence because of the US military presence in Japan under the treaty concluded between the nations. There have been, time after time, struggling women with wrath, and however loud their voices have been they’ve never reached the power of the state.

In 1995, the year in which World Conference on Women in Beijing was held in the wave of movement enlightening “human rights of women”, there was a big incident in Japan. In Okinawa, prefecture with a long history of subordination and oppression even by Japanese central government in a small island situated in the southernmost of Japan, where the most of the US military are stationing, a girl was raped by US servicemen. Naturally, protest movements on a vast scale spread all over Japan, However, both governments never took any drastic measures, which leads the present situation that there have never ceased rapes and violence by US servicemen in Okinawa especially in the vicinity of the bases until now.

This February, a girl became a victim of a rape by an US soldier in the very Okinawa. This incident exposes that both governments of the US, self-acknowledged super power and of Japan, a subordinate of the US regard sexual violence towards women as of little importance. The governor of Okinawa allegedly said, “Which is more important, the security treaty or rape of a girl?” Moreover, on February 28, the US consulate general in Okinawa was reportedly drinking coffee while the Okinawan protesters were waiting with the request of meeting him, which was eventually rejected. Shame on both of them!

But, women cannot remain being victims any longer. Against such chauvinism of the men with power, women must change public sentiments, laws, and politics through the solidarity on global scale. Let us raise our voices of “No Violence Ever!” in every corner of the earth. In Afghanistan, in Japan, in Iraq, in Palestine, in Thailand, in Burma, in China, in Argentine. And each voice must be organized in order to strengthen following an example that one rice ear can easily be plucked while a cluster of rice ears cannot.

For the Friends of RAWA, Japan to join RAWA’s activities of establishing human rights of women means that Japanese women as well have to grasp what situation they are in now and take actions of protesting against human rights violation and violence. We never stop sending messages or taking actions aimed at fulfillment of human rights of women in Japan and the world.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 8 March, 2008
Friends of RAWA, Japan

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