Political poster hinting at death of SDF member stirs controversy


A new poster released by the Social Democratic Party to protest a decision by the Abe Cabinet to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense has stirred controversy, as it hints at the death of a Self-Defense Forces serviceman engaged in fighting overseas.

The poster, issued in mid-July by the minor opposition party, carries a picture of a boy crouching down in a street with the captions, “Since that day, my dad has not come back,” and “A future like this is unbearably sad.”

The party said the boy is the child of an SDF member and the poster underlined the pain of his family.

SDP leader Tadatomo Yoshida said the poster is “stimulating” and suggests “an increased chance of SDF personnel being killed,” now that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has lifted Japan’s self-imposed ban on the exercise of collective self-defense by reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution.

Toshihiro Yama, 34, an SDP member of the city assembly of Konan, Aichi Prefecture, wrote on his blog, “We’d like to avoid thinking about tragic and cruel situations, but the use of the right to collective self-defense could make such a condition a reality.”

Yama is one of the people who devised the concept of the poster.

But Masahisa Sato, a lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and a former SDF member, said he was “outraged” and “feels sad” about the poster. Sato posted on Twitter that he is concerned about how SDF personnel and their families might feel about the poster and slammed the SDP for trying to “exploit the suffering” of SDF family members,” even though the SDP advocates human rights.

Supporters and opponents of the poster have posted various opinions over the Internet, with some calling it “convincing” and others saying it suggests a “leap” in logic.

  • 151E

    “The Way of the Samurai is found in death…. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.”
    – Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

    Is it any different for members of the SDF?