Thursday, August 05, 2004

Japan Today : Moore hopes 'Fahrenheit' will bring about regime change in Japan

Controversial American filmmaker Michael Moore said Tuesday he hopes the global release of his documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" will usher in "regime changes" in countries like Japan and Australia.

In a press conference with foreign journalists in New York, Moore said his polemical movie should encourage people in all democratic countries that have supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq to vote their leaders out of office.

Responding to a question by a Japanese correspondent, he suggested the Japanese people were being betrayed by their government's decision to commit 550 troops in the southern Iraqi town of Samawah until December.

"To see you involve yourselves in this way is a sad day," he said. "It's a shameful and disgraceful thing."

The combative director was especially scathing about the Australian and British prime ministers, John Howard and Tony Blair, along with the leaders of countries like Japan and Italy, for allying themselves with the Bush administration.

"What's confusing to me is how someone like John Howard can get in bed with George W Bush," Moore said. "He at least appears to have half a brain ... It's really disgraceful."

He also had harsh words for Blair, who has been Bush's most stalwart ally since the decision was made to remove Saddam Hussein by military force.

"I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out what Tony Blair, an otherwise intelligent man, would be doing hooking himself up with president Bush," he said. "That is something for science to figure out. Maybe someday, someone could do some examination, put him under hypnosis."

Moore announced that he would not be promoting the film overseas, as he wanted to stay in the United States and concentrate on his "mission" to see Bush ousted from the White House in November's presidential election.

He also urged foreign audiences not to link the opinions in the film exclusively to its maker.

"It's not just Michael Moore," he said. "I'm not the only American who feels this way."

"Fahrenheit 9/11" opens in Japan in mid-August.

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