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Beheiren (ベトナムに平和を！市民連合 "Betonamu ni Heiwa o Shimin Rengo" — Citizen's League for Peace in Vietnam) was a Japanese activist group that existed from 1965 to 1974. As a coalition of a few hundred anti-war groups it protested Japanese assistance to the United States during the Vietnam War.
They claim to have helped 20 U.S. soldiers to desert, in some cases providing them with false passports and other paperwork and helping them escape to Sweden via the Soviet Union. They also used shareholder activism techniques — buying single shares of Mitsubishi stock so that they could address shareholders meetings about the company's support for the American war effort. The group also assisted American soldiers who were publishing and distributing underground papers and pamphlets in Japan.
Members included Makoto Oda (Representative), Yuichi Yoshikawa (Secretary-General), Michitoshi Takabatake, Amon Miyamoto, Ichiyo Muto, Shinobu Yoshioka, Takeshi Kaiko, Yoshiyuki Tsurumi and Shunsuke Tsurumi.
Stance in Cold War Rivalries
Like many New Left groups, Beheiren took a stance independent of the Soviet Union and the communist bloc.
- Simon Avenell, Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of Shimin in Postwar Japan, University of California Press, 2010