A citizens’ group in Japan is planning a second visit to Iraq later this month in hope of blocking a threatened U.S.-led attack on the country by acting as “human shields,” the group said, and some members may try to stay there until fighting erupts.
On Saturday, about 50 people attended a briefing for the group, which plans to send 40 members to Iraq on Feb. 16.
The group will take part in a three-day youth conference beginning Feb. 19 in Baghdad, followed by tours and visits to hospitals. The scheduled return dates are Feb. 25 and March 1, but some participants may stay on in Iraq until war begins.
Thirty members visited Iraq in late December.
The idea of going to Iraq as a human shield has spread in many countries. Some 50 British peace activists went there late last month.
“I was irritated because although I wanted to stop the war, I couldn’t be there,” said participant Yasuyuki Aizawa, 31, from Saitama Prefecture. “I will go there not to say that war is dangerous but to stop it from beginning.”
Another participant, Toru Wakabayashi, 34, of Tokyo, said he will quit his job as a high school teacher and stay in Iraq “until the end.”
“If I can reduce, even just by a little, the possibility of bombs falling over the heads of high school students the same age as those I teach, I do not mind even if I become a shield,” Wakabayashi said.
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