“We cannot close our eyes to needy people because of homosexuality”
The Japanese Ambassador to Uganda Junzo Fujita says he sees no link between giving Aid to Uganda and the country’s stance on homosexuality casting the two issues as separate.
While stressing Uganda’s responsibility to respect international human rights conventions to which it is a party, Uganda’s stance on homosexuality should not blur their focus on the important issues of supporting millions of poor people who desperately need services like clean water.
However Ambassador Fujita noted that Tokyo is yet to make a final decision on whether or not Japan supports a suspected joint decision by western countries to cut aid to Uganda.
“We are now struggling with other donor countries on whether we shall join them in signing a joint statement. Of course Uganda as a member of the international community, has obligations and we expect it to respect international conventions which it signed up,” said Fujita.
“But in my private opinion, Japan’s position on homosexuality is slightly different from other countries. Every country must have had a similar history [of opposing behaviours like homosexuality]. Because of their level of development. That is very natural,”
“In my view, this issue and Aid are very different. Because there are people who need safe water very strongly. We cannot close our eyes because of that issue [homosexuality],” said Ambassador Fujita.
If Fujita manages to persuade his bosses in Tokyo, it will mark a major departure from the Western countries which have mounted an offensive to discredit Uganda as an abuser of human rights.
Already, Norway and the Netherlands have cut aid to Uganda. The Sunrise has learnt that other European countries are planning for a joint move to put pressure on Uganda to repeal the law.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Embassy this week signed two grants agreements totaling US$ 203, 183 (Approximately Ushs 487m) with organisations from Teso and Lango sub-regions aimed at provision of clean water to an estimated 300,000 people in the regions.
Ambassador Fujita signed a US$ 99,140 agreement with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God from Soroti to drill 12 boreholes to improve access to safe water to some 17, 000 people in Soroti district.
Christian Vision International, an NGO that operates in Lango sub-region, also received (US$ 104,043) from the Japanese government towards the construction of 13 deep wells in Kole and Oyam districts.
Since 1992, the government óf Japan under its Grassroots Human Security Projects, has supported 181 projects in Uganda dealing mostly in the sectors of water and sanitation, health, education.