Following the recent spate of self-immolations in Tibet, senior Japanese leaders, including two vice ministers and two members of parliament, pledged their support for the Tibetan cause and signed a petition urging immediate global intervention in Tibet.
The Japanese leaders were the latest to join an impressive list of world leaders and Nobel Laureates, calling for a coordinated international response to condemn China’s repressive measures in Tibet and demanding an immediate withdraw of China’s security forces from Ngaba and across Tibet.
Representatives from the Tibetan Community of Japan and Students for a Free Tibet, Japan yesterday visited 14 offices of Japanese Members of Parliament, briefing them on the current situation in Tibet and asking for their support for a campaign to raise international support for the self-immolations inside Tibet.
Since March this year, twelve Tibetans have set their bodies on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
The Tibetan delegation, while requesting for a coordinated and swift diplomatic action to stop the crisis inside Tibet also urged the parliamentarians to call on the Japanese government to make a public statement of concern about the situation in Tibet.
“Such a statement would strengthen the impact of similar statements made by other governments, and encourage China to take those concerns seriously,” the Tibetan representatives said in a release.
The Japanese leaders who signed the petition “Stand up for Tibet” include the Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and long time Tibet supporter Seishu Makino, Vice Minister of Finance Fumihiko Igarashi, Member of Parliament Hideo Yoshiizumi, and representative of Social Democratic Party Tomoko Abe.
After interacting with the Tibetan delegation, Vice Minister Makino invited the Tibetans to visit the Japanese National Assembly to “inform the members on the Tibet problem”.
Tsering Dorjee, an activist from the Students For a Free Tibet, who was part of the Tibetan delegation later said that he was encouraged with the response from the Japanese parliamentarians to their maiden lobbying campaign.
“We are more determined and committed to continue such campaigns in the future,” Dorjee said.