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Beheiren (ベ平連, short for ベトナムに平和を!市民連合, Betonamu ni Heiwa o! Shimin Rengo, "The 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.


Beheiren claims 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.[1] 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.[2] The group also assisted American soldiers who were publishing and distributing underground papers and pamphlets in Japan. They helped the Intrepid Four desert and seek asylum in Sweden in 1967[3] and later helped Terry Whitmore desert in 1968.[4]

Members included Makoto Oda (Representative),[5] Yuichi Yoshikawa (Secretary-General),[6] Michitoshi Takabatake, Amon Miyamoto, Ichiyo Muto, Shinobu Yoshioka, Takeshi Kaiko, Yoshiyuki Tsurumi and Shunsuke Tsurumi.

Like many New Left groups, Beheiren took a stance independent of the Soviet Union and the communist bloc.[7]


  1. ^ Dean, Kevin Robert. "What Japanese Anti-Vietnam War activists are up to". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  2. ^ "Asian Studies Conference Japan ASCJ 2004". Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  3. ^ Takata, Kei (2017). "Escaping through the networks of trust: The US deserter support movement in the Japanese Global Sixties". The Sixties. 10 (2): 165–181. doi:10.1080/17541328.2017.1390650. S2CID 148969373.
  4. ^ Whitmore, Terry (1971). Memphis-Nam-Sweden. Doubleday & Company, Inc. p. 130.
  5. ^ Hirano, Keiji (2015-05-19). "Anti-Vietnam War 'Beheiren' activism remembered 50 years on". The Japan Times Online. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
  6. ^ Avenell, Simon Andrew (2010). Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520262706.
  7. ^ "Beheiren, U.S.-Japan Relations, and History Activism in Japan". Charles Kraus. 2013-09-08. Retrieved 2018-08-24.

See also[edit]


  • Simon Avenell, Making Japanese Citizens: Civil Society and the Mythology of Shimin in Postwar Japan, University of California Press, 2010 ISBN 978-0520262706
  • Thomas R.H. Havens, Fire Across the Sea: The Vietnam War and Japan 1965-1975, Princeton University Press, 1987 ISBN 978-0691054919