Japan cinema legend Miyazaki joins protests against move to widen military role

Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:02am EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan cannot use military strength to counter China, Hayao Miyazaki, famed director of the Oscar-winning film "Spirited Away", said on Monday, as he joined a chorus of protest against a change in Japan's security policy.

Miyazaki, 74, has long spoken out against war and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's desire for measures allowing broader use of Japan's military, particularly in his final film, "The Wind Rises", which earned him accusations of being a traitor.

Abe's rush to push through changes to Japan's pacifist constitution, arguing that China's growing strength needs to be countered, was "exactly the opposite" of what he should do, Miyazaki told a rare news conference.

"It is impossible to stop China's power through military strength," the famously reclusive master of animated fantasy, whose films have made him a revered household name in Japan, said at his suburban Tokyo studio.

"They need to think of a different way. That's why our pacifist constitution was created."

"The Wind Rises," which marked Miyazaki's 2013 retirement from full-length animated films, told the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japan's feared "Zero" fighter.

The film, and an essay criticising "people who mess around with our constitution," earned him unprecedented criticism and thousands of Internet comments, ranging from disappointment at his foray into politics to those who branded him a traitor.

Miyazaki said Japanese had lost their sense of history and few understood the import of the constitution.   Continued...

Honoree Japanese film director and animator Hayao Miyazaki poses during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards in Los Angeles, California November 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian