Article 9: Peace in Asia Concept and Rationale
1) Aspiring 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. 2) 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.
Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Article 9 and Peace in Asia
November 29 -December 1, 2007 , Tokyo, Japan
■ Concept and Rationale
1) Aspiring 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.
2) 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. Article 9 in Asia and the world
Japan as a nation forever renounced war as the Introduction of the Constitution clearly states. “We, the Japanese people resolve that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government” (Introduction of the Constitution)
Article 9 is a firm pledge to the people in Okinawa and Asia not to wage war and military invasion ever again. It is a commitment based on the repentance of the aggression committed during the Asia Pacific war. Article 9 is a law that binds the government of Japan not to wage war under any circumstance.
GPACC, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, an initiative convened by the United Nations refers to Article 9 in the context of the challenges of arms reduction and demilitarization in North East Asia. “Japan should strictly abide by and preserve Article 9 of its Constitution. Any revision of this provision would form a threat to peace and stability in the region. ” (GPACC 2005) Peace loving people in the world expect Japan to keep Article 9.
2. U.S. Military Transformation and Militarization of Japan
Japan is accelerating a process of radical change in its involvement in war. From being a country that collaborates and supports war, Japan is becoming a country that can wage war. This transformation is intimately connected to the global realignment of the U.S. defense strategy. The ongoing transformation and realignment of the U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific region with the objective to consolidate the defense structure of the Arc of instability from East Europe, Middle East, India to East Asia is the greatest since the Korean War according to the Pentagon. The bilateral agreement reached in Tokyo in May 2006 further concretized this role of Japan. The transfer of the global headquarters of the First Army from Washington State to Camp Zama near Tokyo, where the SDF (Self Defense Forces of Japan) will also establish the headquarters of a Ground SDF Central Readiness Force Command, indicates the perspective for the unification of the U.S. Forces in Japan and the SDF. Japan is heading towards full collaboration with the U.S. global war on terror also strengthening its missile defense system.
３ Legislation for “War Initiating Country ”
The Abe administration took a step forward to change the Japanese constitution, aiming for Article 9 to be incapacitated, which has been one of the biggest obstacles to accelerate the militarization of Japan. The military expenditure of Japan is equivalent to that of US, Russia and China and it is clear that Japan would become a threat to peace and security in Asia and the Pacific if Article 9 were eliminated.
In recent years, as a part of consolidating efforts by the Japanese government, all the laws such as those on the Hinomaru (” national flag “), Kimigayo (” national anthem ” ) and wire tapping, and emergency legislation were set in place. In addition to the Diet’s passing of the amendment to the Fundamental Law on Education, which is centered around patriotic education, the Japanese government has been in the process of changing the constitution, particularly targeting Article 9. . The Diet on May 14, 2007, passed into law a controversial national referendum bill for constitutional amendments. Furthermore, along with this move, Japan is sending the SDF (Self Defense Force) to Iraq as an established reality in order to convince the Japanese people to support the change of the constitution and to become a “country ” which
could initiate and wage war.
4. Call out Article 9 conference for Peace loving religious community
In the light of these dangerous moves in Japan, we cannot remain as a passive spectator of this situation. We, the religious community, will affirm the realization of peace by nonviolence and will act on the basis of our faith. We will further tackle the urgent tasks of keeping and putting life into Article 9 together with people throughout the world. We now send a message on Article 9 of Japan’s Peace Constitution to all people in Asia and the world in order to promote “Peace and Nonviolence ” and this
call to hold an ” Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 “.
About 50 participants from various churches and ecumenical organizations in Asia as well as from other areas in the world are invited. Participants will be selected to ensure that voices from different religions and regions will be included.
■ Venue:Korean YMCA Hotel in Tokyo, Japan
■ Duration:：November 29 -December 1, 2007(arrival Nov 28, departure Dec 2)