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50 academic bodies in Japan issue statements protesting Russian invasion of Ukraine

Hokkaido University's School of Agriculture is seen in Sapporo's Kita Ward in this file photo taken on Feb. 28, 2019. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

About 50 academic bodies in Japan including universities and academic societies have released statements in the names of their presidents and other representatives denouncing the Russian invasion of Ukraine -- an unusually strong response from the academic world to a war overseas.

    Hokkaido University President Kiyohiro Houkin was among those criticizing Russia's aggression. The university organizes the Association of Institutions of Higher Education of the Russian Federation and Japan, and Houkin denounced the invasion as "unacceptable" in a statement in Japanese, English, Russian and Ukrainian.

    Meanwhile, Hokkaido University's Slavic-Eurasian Research Center -- the only research institution in Japan dedicated to regional research on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe -- released a statement announcing solidarity with citizens of Ukraine and citizens of the Russian Federation voicing opposition to Russia's actions.

    Hiroshima University and Nagasaki University, mindful of the atomic bomb attacks that devastated the two cities during World War II, and Fukushima University, reflecting on cooperation with Ukraine following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, criticized remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin indicating Russia was ready to use nuclear weapons.

    Education journalist Tetsuo Kobayashi, who is familiar with the university situation in Japan, commented, "University statements opposing war were hardly seen at all during the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. This is groundbreaking."

    (Japanese original by Hideo Suzuki, Opinion Group)

    Below is a list of academic bodies that have made statements.

    National/public universities: Hokkaido University, Tohoku University, Fukushima University, Tokyo University, Nara Women's University, Hiroshima University, Kyushu University, Nagasaki University, University of Niigata Prefecture, Kyoto City University of Arts, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies.

    Private universities: Hokkai-Gakuen University, Rakuno Gakuen University, Takasaki University of Health and Welfare, Seigakuin University, Waseda University, Sophia University, Meiji University, Rikkyo University, International Christian University, Meiji Gakuin University*, Toyo University, Musashino University, J.F. Oberlin University, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo Christian University, Nihon Fukushi University, Asahi University, Ritsumeikan University, Ryukoku University, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Kyoto Notre Dame University, Kansai University, Osaka University of Tourism, Kobe Shinwa Women's University

    Academic societies and bodies: Science Council of Japan, Japan Association for Russian and East European Studies, Japan Association for the Study of Russian Language and Literature, The Japan Society for the Study of Slavic Languages and Literatures, The Japanese Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Japan Sociological Society, Association for Japanese Social Literature, Peace Studies Association of Japan, The Japanese Medical Science Federation, Astronomical Society of Japan, Academy of Housing for Life and Well-Being, Japan, The Japan Association of Private Universities and Colleges, The Japan Association of National Universities.

    * denotes statement in name of department or departmental members.

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