We would like to inform you a joint public appeal made on
June 10,2004 by 9 intellectuals who represent Japan.
Many political parties and Diet members are pressing for
urge constitutional revision at the moment. The main issue
is Article 9 which declares the renunciation of war and military
strength. Many Japanese think we must not revise Article 9.
Therefore, this appeal is getting a lot of public attention.
An Appeal from the "Article Nine
|The Japanese constitution now
faces a great challenge.
Through the use of weapons reaching the cruelty of the
atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Second World
War claimed over fifty million lives. As a result, the
citizens of the world learned the lesson that resorting
to force should never be an option, even for the purpose
of resolving international disputes.
Bearing an enormous responsibility for having continuously
pursued a war of invasion, Japan decided to work towards
realizing this global vision, and thus established a constitution
including Article Nine which stipulated the renunciation
of war and of military force.
Yet today, half a century later, the movement to "revise"
the Japanese constitution, and Article Nine in particular,
has risen to the forefront with an unprecedented scale
and intensity. The proponents of that movement intend
for Japan to follow the United States and change into
a "war-waging country", For that reason, they
authorize the use of the right to collective self-defense,
dispatch the Japanese Self Defense Forces overseas, allow
their use of force, and commit other such actions that,
for all intents and purposes, violate the restrictions
of the constitution. Moreover, they are trying to do away
with such important measures and policies as the three
non-nuclear principles and the ban on arms exports. Finally,
in order to raise children to become leaders of a "war-waging
country," they are trying to change the Fundamental
Law of Education. This essentially alters the state of
the nation that the Japanese constitution has aimed to
achieve, threatening to convert Japan from a country that
strives to resolve conflicts without military force to
a nation that prioritizes military action above all else.
We cannot allow that conversion to occur.
The United States' attack on Iraq and the morass of the
occupation that followed makes it clearer to us day by
day that the resolution of conflict through force is unrealistic.
The use of force only results in robbing a country and
its people of their livelihood and of their happiness.
Since the 1990s, armed interventions by major nations
into regional conflicts have also failed to result in
effective resolutions. That is why, in such places as
Europe and Southeast Asia, efforts are being strengthened
to create regional frameworks that can help to resolve
conflicts through diplomacy and dialogue.
Today, as we question our path in the 21st century based
on the lessons of the 20th, the importance of grounding
diplomacy on Article Nine emerges with renewed clarity.
To call the dispatch of Self Defense Forces into countries
that do not welcome it an "international contribution"
is nothing more than arrogance.
Based on Article Nine, Japan needs to develop ties of
friendship and cooperation with the peoples of Asia and
other regions, and change a diplomatic stance that only
prioritizes a military alliance with the United States.
Japan must play an active role in the tide of world history
by exercising its autonomy and acting in a pragmatic manner.
It is precisely because of Article Nine that Japan can
engage its partner nations in peaceful diplomacy while
respecting their various positions, and collaborate with
them in the fields of economy, culture, science and technology.
In order to join hands with all peace-seeking citizens
of the globe, we feel that we must strive to shine the
light of Article Nine upon this turbulent world. To that
end, each and every citizen, as sovereign members of this
country, needs to personally adopt the Japanese constitution,
with its Article Nine, and reaffirm their belief in it
through their daily actions. This is a responsibility
that the sovereign members share for the future state
of their country. Thus, in the interest of a peaceful
future for Japan and the world, we would like to appeal
to each and every citizen to come together for the protection
of the Japanese constitution: You must begin making every
possible effort to thwart these attempts at "constitutional
revision," and you must begin today.
June 10, 2004
Hisashi Inoue (author)
Takeshi Umehara (philosopher)
Kenzaburo Oe (author)
Yasuhiro Okudaira (constitution scholar)
Makoto Oda (author)
Shuichi Kato (critic)
Hisae Sawachi (author)
Shunsuke Tsurumi (philosopher)
Mutsuko Miki (UN Women' Society)
(This article was reprinted from the Home page of"Article