Japan’s Lesson of Tolerance for Iraq

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Japan has taught Iraqis an important lesson on tolerance and humanitarian devotion when it decided to open a hospital in the city of Fallujah in memory of Japanese journalist Shinsuke Hashida, who perished in Fallujah in 2004.

This has great significance as to the concept of coexistence. Coexistence among and within people cannot be achieved without a vision that fosters tolerance, as a secure path to founding modern societies, consolidating social ties and entrenching a humanitarian perspective in relations between peoples.

The widow of the slain Japanese journalist raised funds to establish the hospital in Fallujah, and effectively contributed to bringing the hospital project to light.

Japan’s ambassador to Iraq, Masato Takaoka, told the story of Hashida during the inauguration ceremony of the Fallujah Maternity and Children’s Hospital, which was held at the Japanese embassy in Baghdad on Aug. 19. Hashida was killed when he was helping a child who had lost his eye during the war. The child, Mohammed Haytham, received treatment in Japan and attended the inauguration ceremony as well.

According to the embassy’s statement, Takaoka said in his speech, “Japan wishes to promote Iraqi national reconciliation and stability by helping people in Fallujah and surrounding areas.”

The ambassador expressed hope that the Fallujah Maternity and Children’s Hospital would be another example of friendship between Japan and Iraq, by providing children and mothers with high-quality medical services.

Unfortunately, the Japanese initiative passed without genuine interest in Iraq, whether at the political or media level.

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