3rd Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9–Final Statement

3rd Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9–Final Statement

The 3rd annual Asian Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 from Seoul to Okinawa held on October 7, 2011.


Statement of the 3rd Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9

From Seoul
to Okinawa

Okinawa Christian University


Article 9
of Japan’s Peace Constitution

sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese
people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat
or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

In order to
accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as
well as other war potential, will never be maintained.  The right of belligerency of the state will
not be recognized.

1) The 3rd Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 of
the Japanese Peace Constitution gathered 220 participants from Japan, Okinawa,
South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, South Africa,
Switzerland, Italy,
Canada and the USA to see and hear the
experiences of the Okinawan people. The conference was held at the Okinawa
Christian University from October 5 through 7th, 2011. With our thoughts turned
toward the victims of disasters arising from the Great East Japan Earthquake,
Tsunami, and Fukushima Number 1 Nuclear Power Plant incident, we prayerfully
reaffirm the sanctity of life, and hereby issue this Statement.

2) Article 9 of the Constitution
has never been realized in Japan and least of all in Okinawa, which holds
roughly 74% of American military facilities as well as other Japan Self Defense
Forces bases in just 0.6% of Japanese land. Furthermore, former Prime Minister
Hatoyama’s declaration that he would have the military bases in Okinawa moved
out of the prefecture or to another country has not been realized. Okinawa’s bases have not only been retained, but new
bases are being constructed. On Jeju Island—designated an “Island of Peace” by the government of
Korea—a new naval base is being built by the government and armed forces. We, the Asia Inter-Religious
Conference on Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution, categorically
reject foreign military basing arrangements, be it the physical bases in
Okinawa and the naval base in Jeju, Korea, or unhampered access to land, air,
and naval facilities as contained in the Visiting Forces Agreement between the
Philippines and the United States.

3) For the foregoing reasons,
be it resolved that –

  • The US and Japanese governments must honor Article 9 of
    the Japanese Constitution and we strongly oppose any attempt by the Japanese
    Government to revise the same.
  • We demand the
    Japanese government that the “sympathy
    budget” allocations toward the U.S. be abolished and reassigned to relief
    efforts in disaster-stricken areas.
  • We call upon communities of faith in the United States to consider their complicity as US citizens in US policies toward Okinawa, examine their consciences, and join in advocacy for the closure of Futenma and other bases in Okinawa as well as the
    abandonment of plans to build a new base in Henoko.
  • We demand
    that the proposed plan of the construction of the bases of Self Defense Forces
    in Miyako and Yaeyama be abandoned.
  • We demand the
    total abolition of nuclear weapons and challenge the continuous use of nuclear
    energy in all its applications.
  • Recognizing the
    horrific human toll of U.S. wars, expansionism, and hegemony, we call upon all
    persons of faith to join the global peace
    movement and oppose the imperial militarization of Asia, the Middle East and

4) In the statement issued in
Seoul, Korea, on the occasion of the 2nd Asia Inter-religious Conference on
Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution, we affirmed that, Article 9 is more than ever relevant for regional and
international relations, and is forward-looking.  It can be seen as the
core value of a just, peaceful, and sustainable Asian

5) Despite Japan regaining independence in 1952,
Okinawa has remained under U.S. military rule for another 20 years. All the
U.S. military bases there remain intact. During this period, a large movement
arose in Okinawa demanding the return of Okinawa to Japan, whose, Constitution
contained the war-renouncing Article 9. This wish was finally realized in 1972,
in the so-called “Return of Okinawa.” However, this was essentially only a
transfer of administrative rights, which resulted in the betrayal of Okinawa’s
hopes and desires. As Okinawa was being returned to a Japan that had the Three
Non-Nuclear Principles, these principles should have applied to Okinawa as
well, but the governments of the United States and Japan struck a secret
agreement that left the portage of nuclear arms into Okinawa up to the
discretion of the U.S. What Okinawa desired was to be a land without military
bases, or at least “comparable to the mainland” in level. But even after the transfer of administrative rights,
the situation of military base presence in Okinawa did not change. Furthermore,
Okinawa has been made more “comparable to the mainland” by the construction of
new military bases for the Japan Self Defense Forces. In recent years this
military presence is even threatening to expand to the regions of Miyako and

6) The post-war government of Japan has continually
accepted the presence of U.S. and JSDF military bases, thus contravening
Article 9.  Removal of “the world’s most
dangerous base” at Futenma and its return to Okinawans
still has no schedule. Despite the opposition of 80% of Okinawa’s citizens, the
government of Japan is attempting to build a new military base to replace
Futenma, which will destroy and pave over the sea at Henoko.  The government is also destroying its own
rain forest by building a helipad in Takae. Both places
support biodiversity that is 50 to 60 times as rich as the coastal waters and
forests in the mainland. Furthermore, U.S. forces are planning to deploy new
Osprey planes to the yet-to-be-removed base at Futenma, as well as to various
facilities being constructed further north. 
The government of Japan speaks of reducing the burden of military bases
upon Okinawa, but the reality is that the functions of bases and military
armaments are being strengthened.

7) With the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and the
U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement, the military continues to cause daily
suffering for the people of Okinawa. From these bases in Okinawa U.S. forces
were sent into the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War. And ever since the Gulf War the Japan Self Defense
Forces have joined and collaborated as one with U.S. forces in what can only be
described as acts of war.

8) The governments of both Japan and the U.S. say that
the bases on Okinawa are a deterrent force. But the the military forces on
Okinawa are a threat to neighboring nations. We cannot watch silently while
bombers and warships are sent out from this precious land, passed down from our
peace-loving ancestors, to terrorize, destroy and kill the inhabitants in every
region on this earth. 

9) Arms cannot bring peace but
respecting the rights of people can.  In spite of the lies and fraudulent assertions of both
the Japanese and U.S. governments, we, as written in the Preamble of the
Constitution of Japan, “have determined to preserve our security, and
existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the
world.” We believe that there is a “nature that is true and real” in the
peoples of all nations, and for this reason we resolve to continue walking
forward towards a world without military bases.

10) Okinawa once had its own
philosophical tradition of “non-military culture.” Through friendly relations
and trade, not by arms, Ryukyu (Okinawa) established relations with various Asian
countries. But in 1609 it came under the de facto rule of Japan’s Satsuma Clan,
as a result of an invasion by Satsuma. This year marks the 402nd year from that
date.  In 1879 the Ryukyu Kingdom was
again invaded, this time by the Meiji government, and was annexed by force to
become part of Japan. This is what is known as the “Ryukyu Disposition,” and
this year marks the 132nd year from that date. In the 15-year War, which began
with the self-staged Manchurian “terrorist” Incident of 1931 and lasted until
Japan’s surrender in 1945, Okinawa was sacrificed to ensure the continuity of
the Japanese state system.  The people of
Okinawa were forced by the Imperial Japanese Army, deployed to defend Okinawa,
to “Live Together and Die Together” with the military. During the Battle of
Okinawa, in which land battles engulfed the island’s civilian inhabitants,
massacres of local residents by Japanese forces, ejection of refugees from
shelter caves, and “forced mass deaths” under military orders, occurred in many
locations. The Japan Ministry of Education has shown a strong tendency to
dilute such facts in Japanese school texts, giving rise even to court cases
over the issue.  Yet the Supreme Court
found, in a 2011 judgment, that there indeed were Army orders to force “mass
deaths” on the Islands of Zamami, Geruma, and Tokashiki

11) Holding the Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article
9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution here in Okinawa awakened us, people of many
faiths, to the realities of the struggles of the Okinawan people. We truly pursue the realization of Article 9 in our
own places, and walk together toward this realization. We commit ourselves to
actively work to oppose the spread of American military bases across Asia and
around the world and demand the closure of all military bases. We trust that
the route to these aspirations can be found in each person’s faith. We pray for the realization of peace and take action to
build peace through non-violence. The answer to violence is to embody and
animate the spirit of Article 9.

October 7, 2011

Participants of the 3rd Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9