Western Sahara is called the last colony in Africa. Spain abandoned and Morocco keeps its military occupation and sending settlers. The original residents, Sahrawi people, evacuated from Moroccan bombing and made refugee camp in Algeria. They proclaimed the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic (RASD) in 1976.
On 7 March 2023, I visited the presidential palace in the camp and met independently with RASD President Brahim Ghali. He criticized the pro-Moroccan attitude of Japanese government and companies. “They contribute in the plunder of resources that are stained with blood”, he talked.

Text and Photo: Yuichi Iwasaki/Asia Press

President Ghali in his office(2023)


------ In order to confirm the contacts between Western Sahara and Japan, I have visited the occupied zone of Western Sahara and the Canary Islands, as well as in various places of Japan. I witnessed Morocco’s plunder and export Western Sahara resources and the reality that they are consumed in Japan. Please let me listen your views on Japan.

Ignorance of RASD by Japan

I cannot understand why Japan ignore us. Especially, it is remarkable after 1991(*1). We were extremely shocked from Japan's position toward the Sahrawi people whom they do not know.
Japan never received any wrong doings from us in our history.
We are aware of the Japanese people's suffering during the WW2. Thus, we know that Japan should be kind and sensitive towards other peoples' suffering.
Through the partnership between AU and Japan (*2) in these past 5 years, Japan's confrontational attitude towards us was extremely harsh. It was even, sometimes, stronger than that of Morocco. So we started to winder, what did we do to Japan? Until now we do not understand it.

Representatives of RASD at the venue of TICAD7 in Yokohama(2019)

And, we did not yet feel a sufficient pressure collectively from the Japanese people, the Japanese Association of Solidarity, and Japanese civil society, on Japan. This is an unjust stance; it should review its stance, these suffering and oppressed people.
And what we know is that the norm of people doesn’t stand with the aggressor, it only stands with the oppressed people.
What interests (Japanese interest) are there those got such importance that it disregards human rights, and contribute in the plunder of resources that are stained with blood of a people who are suffering every day from the abuses of a colonialist and expansionist regime. We wonder what it could be.
There is no need to tell you that. You’ve witnessed that with your own eyes.

A vessel headed to Moji port in Japan, carrying phosphates from Western Sahara(2020)

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