Poet Arthur Binard speaks on true patriotism and national defense

by Akira Koyama

American poet Arthur Binard, 40, a resident of Tokyo, delivered a speech at the Prefectural Mothers Conference held in the city of Higashi-hiroshima on June 22. One of his publications is a picture book on the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (The Lucky Dragon No. 5), a Japanese tuna fishing boat which was exposed to radioactive fallout from a hydrogen bomb test conducted by the United States in 1954.

In his speech at the Central Community Hall, Mr. Binard said, “Since World War II, the United States has repeatedly engaged in wars of aggression in the name of ‘national defense’ and such wars do not require congressional approval before they are declared.” He also stressed, “A true patriot seeks to correct the mistakes his own country is making. We must stick fast to the power of reason.” With good humor, Mr. Binard went on to speak about the importance of “discerning truth” for the roughly 500 people in attendance.

Mr. Binard also touched on the continuing crimes that U.S. military personnel in Japan have committed, remarking, “The standard slogan that promises a “strict enforcement of discipline” after every crime will not solve the problem. Only by closing down all U.S. bases in Japan can the recurrence of such crimes be prevented.”

(Originally published on June 23, 2008)

Related articles
The hidden truth of the Bikini Incident (March 7, 2008)
Fifty-four years after the Bikini Incident: An interview with Matashichi Oishi, former crewman on the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Feb. 28, 2008)