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Joint actions on the 60th anniversary of the Japanese Peace Constitution

Joint actions in Japan, Korea and throughout the world:
Let's create a war-free Asia!

November 3 is the 60th anniversary of the announcement of the Japanese Constitution. On this day, simultaneous actions were held throughout the world in support of Article 9, which renounces war and the maintenance of armed forces. These events emphasized the belief that Article 9 is a shared treasure not only for the peace of Japan, but for Asia and the entire world.

Article 9 Public Notices

The Global Article 9 Campaign, with Peace Boat acting as secretariat, has placed public notices in support of Article 9 in newspapers throughout the world.
In Japan, a notice was placed in the November 2 Asahi Shimbun, which reaches 21 million readers daily, asking the question, "Can peace really be created through force?" Throughout the following days, public notices are being placed continually in newspapers around the world with the support of local civil society organisations, in places as wide-reaching as South Africa to Mongolia, Switzerland to Taiwan, and Sri Lanka to Australia, as well as many more.


A gathering titled, "Let's stop the creation of a country which wages war!" was held in Tokyo's Harajuku on the afternoon of November 3. At this event, representative of Korean NGO 'Asian Peace and Historical Education Alliance' Kang Hae Jung spoke of the Korean perspective of Japan's Article 9 issue and the current situation in Japa. "At the moment, without the citizens even realizing, Japan is heading in a very dangerous direction. Administration, control and hostility, which are in direct opposition to the values of peace, human rights and democracy, are growing stronger. At the peak of this process is the revision of Article 9 of the Constitution. That is the path to war.
The war on the Korean Peninsula is still not over, and as a Korean person who in that sense is still living in a period of war, I am envious of the Japanese feeling that 'peace is something to take for granted.' Japanese militarization would accelerate militarization throughout Asia, having a direct and negative effect on Korean democracy.
I believe that 'dialogue' is at the core of Article 9. Both exchange and dialogue between Korea and Japan have been gradually increasing until now, however we need to improve the quality of the grassroots solidarity. We need a clear image of the future, and we need programmes that will work towards that. Korean citizens who share this belief want to work together in cooperation," Ms Kang told the audience. Her speech was a great source of encouragement for the Japanese audience, infused with enthusiasm and passion.

Waseda University lecturer Nishihara Hiroshi also addressed the gathering, giving a clear warning regarding Japan's current situation. "The Japan of today is heading toward a structure wherein the country is led by only a few people, going against the principles of democracy. This is particularly apparent in the Fundamental Education Law issue, where a gap between 'winners' and 'losers' in schools is being created, trying to bind the people who are growing further and further apart with 'patriotism'. Following this, Zainichi Korean (Korean residents in Japan) rap duo KP expressed that "if each piece, like pieces of a puzzle, does not work together towards peace, no real peace can be born", uniting the participants' hearts through music.

Following the gathering, the participants headed out onto the streets to hold a parade down Omotesando, a wide boulevard overflowing with young people. Participants wore 'Article 9 masks' in a colourful appeal to people on the street.


On the same day, an event was held in Seoul, jointly organized by Korean and Japanese activists. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Japanese constitution, the gathering appealed against Japan's move towards becoming a military power and against the revision of the Japanese Peace Constitution. 30 Korean activists from groups such as 'Women Making Peace' took part, together with 40 Japanese representatives from Peace Boat, lawyers' groups and workers' unions. In the morning, a press conference was staged in front of the Japanese embassy, followed by a symposium in the afternoon.

The participants emphasized that in Northeast Asia, facing the North Korean nuclear crisis, now is the time to truly value the principle of 'peaceful resolution of conflict' as embodied in Japan's Article 9. However, the reality is that there is a rising apprehension in South Korea that Japan will take an excessively hard line, including military measures, against North Korea.

The afternoon symposium was enttiled "Korean and Japanese Civil Society's Challenges: Creating Peace in Northeast Asia post the North Korean nuclear test." Policy officer of Korean NGO 'Unification Maji' Kim Chang Soo spoke as a panelist, appealing that "we cannot allow another war to occur on the Korean Peninsula. In order to create an environment where North Korea can maintain itself as a country in peace without relying on military power, the support of the international society is vital. For this, it is important that Japan protects its peace constitution."

Fellow panelist, Peace Boat Executive Committee Member Kawasaki Akira, spoke of the importance of ensuring that the pacifism of Article 9 is a common principle of Northeast Asian citizens, and of opposing measures which would lead Japan to take military action together with the United States.

These events are a major step in the mission of the "Global Article 9 Campaign" to spread Article 9 to teh world, and take the initiative to use the principle of Article 9 to work towards achieving peace.

©2008 GPPAC JAPAN All Rights Reserved.