An Appeal by Japanese Researchers Specialized in Middle Eastern Studies Calling for Immediate Ceasefire and Humanitarian Support for Gaza

The following appeal was issued by a group of Japanese researchers (specialized in Middle Eastern Studies) on the present situation in Gaza. The appeal, which was initially published in Japanese on 17 October, has since been approved and signed by more than 4, 000 persons (academics and citizens), expressing the deep concern of Japanese civil society about the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza and their support for a peaceful solution of the crisis.

The text of the appeal is as follows :

An Appeal by Japanese Researchers Specialized in Middle Eastern Studies Calling for Immediate Ceasefire and Humanitarian Support for Gaza

The situation surrounding the Gaza Strip, Palestine, has been deteriorating rapidly. As researchers working on various topics concerning the Middle East (such as history, society, culture, regional and international politics related to the Middle East), and as citizens interested in the people and cultures of the Middle East and wishing a peaceful future for the region, we express our deep concern about the escalating violence and growing humanitarian crisis, and call for:

1.      Immediate ceasefire and release of hostages.

2.      Rescuing Gaza immediately from the present humanitarian crisis by stopping all military attacks on Gaza, lifting the siege, and guaranteeing the supply of water, electricity, food, medicine and other indispensable goods. The policy of forced displacement of the population of Gaza, in preparation of a war, should be cancelled.

3.      Observance of international law and international humanitarian law. It is crucial that all international rules and norms stipulated from the point of view of humanity and human rights should be strictly observed in the course of the present crisis. Moreover, it is necessary to examine, objectively and from a historical point of view, whether international conventions, stressing the importance of the protection of population under occupation and forbidding the building of settlements in occupied territories, have been observed in the case of Palestine.

4.      Commitment on the part of the international community, including the Japanese government, to the solution of the present crisis by peaceful and political means. The international community should do its utmost to create an environment facilitating negotiations and dialogues, aimed at addressing the root causes of the crisis and solving them.

The present crisis over Gaza, in which numerous innocent citizens have been killed, besieged, and are daily perishing, is a serious humanitarian disaster. At the same time, it constitutes a threat to the world peace as a whole, for, if we now allow this disaster to go on unheeded, it will be almost impossible, for many years to come, to find any peaceful solution for disputes in the Middle East. Continued tension and conflicts in the region might eventually drag the entire world into catastrophe.

Postwar Japanese diplomacy, as far as the Middle East is concerned, has been successful in pursuing a considerably sensible and unbiased policy, especially towards the question of Palestine. Japanese citizens, on their part, have been long engaged in various activities aimed at deepening mutual understanding and friendship with the people of the Middle East. Based on these experiences, we raise our voice for the sake of peace and humanity.

17 October, 2023

Masato Izuka (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), Satoshi Ukai (Shinshu University), Akira Usuki (Japan Women’s University), Tetsuya Ohtoshi (Waseda University), Mari Oka (Waseda University), Tadashi Okanouchi (Hosei University), Yoshiko Kurita (Chiba University), Hidemitsu Kuroki (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), Emi Goto (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies), Keiko Sakai (Chiba University), Eiji Nagasawa (The University of Tokyo), Misako Nagasawa (writer), Eisuke Naramoto (Hosei University), Shuji Hosaka (The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan), Toru Miura (Ochanomizu University), Tomoko Yamagishi (Meiji University), Kaoru Yamamoto (Keio University)※This appeal has been so far approved and signed by 4,148 persons (researchers and citizens)  (27 October, 2023)