If you’ve picked up the paper this week, you might have come to the disturbing conclusion that the U.S. is marching ever closer to the brink of a devastating war with North Korea. It’s a conflict that would be sure to hit Japan hard, yet there seems to be relatively little pushback from the people who live here to stop it.

In the run-up to the 2003 U.S.-led attack on Iraq, thousands of protesters bearing heart-shaped “World Peace Now” placards took to the streets of Tokyo in a bid to turn back the tide of violence that would eventually sweep the Middle East. More recently, a group of young progressives, working under the banner of the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), was at the forefront of dynamic demonstrations aimed at blocking the Liberal Democratic Party’s assault on the pacifist Constitution.

Today with Washington beating its war drums and Tokyo humming in tune, I wonder what happened to that army of peace activists who marched to the beat of a decidedly different drum. The massive crowds that once moved to a pulsating mix of music and impassioned political rhetoric seem strangely silent today. Could it be that they are now quietly clapping along to an old familiar song?

JT Cassidy

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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