Japan

Mahathir calls for more mutual understanding to avoid wars

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Malaysia's leader called Thursday for more international exchange among young people as a way to prevent war and terrorism, as he received an honorary degree from a like-minded university in Japan.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that eradicating terrorism requires more than a good defense.

"I believe that merely fighting against terrorism will not put an end to terrorism," he said at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in southern Japan. "We must know the reason why these people resort to terrorism, and if we know the reason, and we deal with the reason, then there is a chance that we can stop the acts of terror."

More broadly, he said that greater mutual understanding would provide opportunities to resolve conflict through means other than violence.

To that end, he praised Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University for its multinational student body, saying that should be the trend at all universities. The school was founded in 2000 as a place for future global leaders to study together and develop an understanding of each other's cultures and ways of life. It has many students from elsewhere in Asia, as well as other parts of the world.

"If we are going to have good relations between different countries, we must know each other," said Mahathir, an honorary member of the school's advisory committee.

Mahathir is wrapping up a four-day visit to Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands. He earlier gave the keynote address at a seminar for future Japanese leaders and visited a training center at JR Kyushu, a railway company that operates the high-speed bullet train.

It is his second visit to Japan since becoming prime minister in May for the second time.

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