Shigeru Ishiba Warns on Iran Joining the War: “It Could Lead to World War III” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shigeru Ishiba Warns on Iran Joining the War: “It Could Lead to World War III”

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Mr. Ishiba took time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed.

Amid the turmoil in Nagatacho over allegations that LDP lawmakers have been using party tickets to make as much as 100 million yen in slush funds, expectations are rising for Shigeru Ishiba, 66, a lone wolf who does not belong to any faction in the LDP. When told that he was ranked No. 1 in a recently released poll of “people who want him to be prime minister,” Ishiba laughed and said, “That’s been the case for a long time.”

However, the reason for visiting Ishiba at the Diet Members’ Building this time was not to ask him about his customary desire to become prime minister. As a former defense minister, I wanted to ask him how he views the war between Israel and Hamas, a terrorist organization, and what his outlook is.

Mr. Ishiba expressed his concern that “If Iran joins the war, it could turn into World War III,” and began by saying that “Both sides have their claims to justice, but as UN Secretary-General Guterres says, ‘human rights’ outweigh that justice.”


“I have never met Prime Minister Netanyahu, but from what I know from news reports, he is a very far-right, hard-line government, and there are glimpses of a ‘government is above the courts’ attitude (the Israeli Supreme Court found the expansion of Jewish settlements illegal, but Prime Minister Netanyahu did not comply, and the Supreme Court’s decision was overturned by the parliament. (Israel’s Supreme Court found the expansion of Jewish settlements illegal, but Prime Minister Netanyahu did not comply and enacted a law allowing the Supreme Court’s decision to be overturned by parliament). It has been said that the war is returning centripetal force to Israel’s flagging approval ratings in the country. Perhaps he is trying to gather support and stay in power by demonstrating his hard-line stance of eradicating Hamas. Not only in Israel, but also in other countries, there is a tendency that ‘a cabinet that goes to war is a strong cabinet.”

According to the Israeli newspaper Maariv, prior to the war, opposition supporters outnumbered supporters of the ruling party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Immediately after the war began, there were calls to hold Netanyahu responsible for failing to prevent Hamas terrorism, but now 65% of Israelis support the Gaza offensive, according to Maariv.

Mr. Ishiba continues.

“In 2020, through the mediation of the former U.S. President Trump, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which had previously supported Palestine, and Israel established diplomatic relations. Saudi Arabia is also preparing to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, and I think Hamas felt an urgency to ‘don’t forget the Palestinian issue.’”

“The U.S. must really want Israel to back off. That is why they are urging a ceasefire. There are 5 million Jews living in the US, and 10% of the Senators are Jewish. The impact on the political and business world is huge. Traditionally, the U.S. has centered on the coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine, but former President Trump, who has a Jewish support base, has made his pro-Jewish stance clear by moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President Biden may be in the difficult position of saying, ‘If I don’t have a more pro-Jewish policy than the Trump administration, I will lose support.’”

Ishiba believes that the U.S. is watching closely how Iran, which supports Hamas, will react.

“Iran has experience in nuclear development and is suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, and Israel is also a nuclear power. If Iran joins the war, it could lead to World War III. The Zionist regime in Israel has an electorate philosophy that the Jewish people are God’s chosen people, and former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said, ‘I would rather make enemies of the world and survive than perish with the world’s sympathy.’”


Of course, not all Jews share the same ideology, and there have been anti-war demonstrations by Jews in Israel and abroad who want a ceasefire in Gaza. However, the Zionist ideology is radical, and Israeli President Yitzhak Hertzog said in an interview with CNN, “We are fighting a cruel, inhuman enemy. It must be eradicated,” he replied.

Ishmael criticizes Israel for allegedly violating international law.

“If you attack Hamas fighters, but Israel is bombing hospitals as well, claiming, ‘If there is a Hamas stronghold in a hospital, it is no use to involve civilians. This would be a violation of international humanitarian law. In the first place, the blockade of Gaza itself is also likely to be a violation of international law.”

Israel is countering Hamas rocket attacks with air strikes under the pretext of its right to self-defense, but Ishiba argues that the principle of proportionality must be applied, and that it is not okay to do anything if it is an exercise of the right to self-defense.

The killing of civilians without prior warning and the death or injury of numerous civilians, including children, must be declared a violation of international humanitarian law, he says. Ishiba’s stance is that Hamas is not a “state or quasi-state organization” that is a party to an international conflict, and that Israel has the right to use its police power, not the right of self-defense, no matter how extensive the damage is.

“Unlike the West, where Jewish influence is strong in political and business circles, Japan has close ties with both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. Japan should be in a position to call on both sides. Japan’s domestic energy self-sufficiency rate is lower than it was during the oil crisis. It is okay to approach Palestine and be offended by the US. Japan and the U.S. should have a more frank exchange of views. In the first place, the U.S. global strategy would not be possible without the U.S. military bases in Japan.”

Is there a solution to the Palestinian conflict that has been going on since the founding of Israel?

“I believe that the United Nations should take responsibility for resolving the conflict, given the history of Israel’s founding. The UN played a major role in resolving the Suez conflict. (In 1956, Egyptian President Nasser declared the nationalization of the Suez Canal, and Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt. At the UN Security Council, the U.S. requested withdrawal of troops, and Britain and France vetoed the request. (The U.S. uses the “Rally for Peace” to transfer the agenda adopted in 1950 to the General Assembly, which convenes an emergency special session, and a resolution for ceasefire and withdrawal of troops is adopted.) We should aim for a situation where the UN sends a ceasefire monitoring mission, and I think Japan should participate in that ceasefire monitoring mission. There will be public criticism, but if we cannot deploy the Self-Defense Forces to maintain international peace and order, it will be impossible for us to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.”

Japan has a huge role to play,” said Ishiba.

Ishiba also dismissed the Kishida administration, which has not only failed to make its presence felt in this war, but has also continued to fly very low due to a series of scandals.

He said, “They are trying to encourage wage increases through a variety of measures, but if the goal is to completely end deflation in the first place, that means they will not take action against high prices themselves. Even if tax cuts and benefits are temporarily provided, they will be used for savings, and the tax cuts will be financed by “debt” for future generations. During the Abe administration, the government implemented the “Three Arrows” of drastic monetary easing and fiscal stimulus, but little has been done on the structural reforms that were supposed to follow them.”


“The government should carefully examine why Japan is the only country that has failed to increase productivity, how much progress has been made in policies to link the potential of local regions to economic strength, whether there are any regulations that impede innovation, and conversely, whether there are any rights threatened by new technologies, and present these issues as measures to the public. Also, with regard to the taxation system, we should return to the principle of “pay as you go,” which is required by the Constitution, and discuss extensively and present to the public how to collect appropriate taxes from companies that have profited from the weak yen and people whose incomes have increased, and how to create a tax system that is appropriate for the new values and social system.”

Japan’s international competitiveness remained No. 1 from 1989 until 1992, after the end of the bubble economy, but plummeted to No. 17 in 1997 when financial system instability surfaced, and has remained in the 30s since 2019 under the Abe administration.

However, the lawmakers of the giant factions, who are rocked by allegations of massive slush funds, do not seem to have the time or the inclination to rebuild Japan as a nation.

  • Photography and text by Yuria Fukatsuki

    Yuria Fukatsuki graduated from the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Keio University. Representative of the Fukatsuki Office. She writes for numerous media and also works as an actress, model, belly dancer, and FM radio personality. She is also actively involved in animal welfare activities and produced her own TV program "Animal Welfare, Coexisting with the Earth" for TV Kanagawa.

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