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Essay and Opinion

Spreading Article 9 in 27 languages to the world

January 26, 2015

Masanao Takeda
(Chairman of Japan-Eurasia Society

―――Japan-Eurasia Society has published a leaflet of the Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan in 27 different languages, 100 yen per copy, to be diffused worldwide. We have Mr. Masanao Takeda, the Chairman of the society, here. Mr. Takeda, will you tell us about the leaflet and the reason why you made it?

(Takeda)Japan-Eurasia Society was established in 1957 as Japan-Russo Society. Its first Chairman was former Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama. In 1992, it changed its name to present Japan-Eurasia Society. We have promoted friendship with 15 former USSR republics, as a non-governmental, private organization. We have been organizing programs in culture, art and other areas, to promote mutual understanding and friendship between Japanese and these Eurasian peoples in grass-roots level, aiming to do something positive for human rights, democracy, peace and coexistence in the world.
In 2004, we translated Japanese Constitution's Article 9 into Russian and other 12 languages of former USSR. Later we added Japanese and English, and reissued the leaflet in 15 languages.
We were running out of the 15-language copies, therefore, we decided to further improve it. The former version did not have Lithuanian and Estonian among our partner nations' languages, so we decided to add these two in our new version. And we thought of further reaching out to people in Asia, Europe, Middle East, South and Central America, and all parts of the world. Last summer, we established a working group and completed the 27-language leaflet which contains 15 languages of former USSR nations, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, French, Polish, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, English and Japanese. It was published on August 28, 2014, and has been on sale at 100 yen per copy.
I've heard a Brazilian person saying that it enables most people in South and Central America read the Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, as it has that many languages.

―――How have you delivered the 27-language leaflet?

(Takeda)We handed a trial copy to each delegate from abroad in the World Conference against A and H Bombs last year. In September, we gave copies to the participants of the 11th Japan-Russia Forum which was held in Russia. Our Osaka branch has sent some to Georgia Japan Relation Association. In November, some of our members visited Finland and Germany, and delivered some to those whom we met.
We occasionally organize study trips abroad. And in such occasions, participants bring some copies to hand out.

―――How is the reaction from abroad?

(Takeda)Many people are surprised and impressed when they learn that Japanese Constitution renounces war and swears not to have armed forces. They congratulate us for having translated the phrase into different languages to diffuse its principle. Some people have commented that the publication of the leaflet was very appropriate today for peace on earth. Chairman Karlo Kveladze Georgia Japan Relation Association says he is going to tell Georgian cabinet ministers of Education, Foreign Affairs, Domestic Affairs, and Defense, about the leaflet.
On the other hand, we hear critical voices that Japan often help the USA fight wars despite the Article 9 in its Constitution. We have learned the importance of making further efforts to stop our government from giving up the Article 9.

―――How will you further spread the leaflet? 

(Takeda) NPT Review Conference, which strives to eliminate nuclear weapons, is going to be held, at the UN headquarters in New York City in this April. We have decided to deliver the leaflet to those who come to the conference. And we are going to give one to overseas participants of the World Conference against A and H Bombs this year again. And I think we can cooperate with the group, which was established last year, that work for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the Article 9.
We have prefectural and local branches nationwide. And we also have cooperated with many other organizations in different regions in Japan. They occasionally have some programs for friendship with Eurasian and other nations. I hope that the leaflet is going to be delivered in such occasions, and that many people, in the Article 9 Association, for example, will bring some copies to their friends when they go abroad.

―――A lot of people in the world support the idea in the Article 9. And we hope that it's going to be known to a lot more people in the near future. The 27-language leaflet must be a powerful tool for that. We hope it will be diffused further more widely. Thank you very much, Mr. Takeda, for sharing your time with us today.


Note from Japan Institute of Constitutional Law (JICL)
 We, JICL, also make efforts to diffuse information about the Constitution of Japan. We have published a bilingual (German and Japanese) book of German and Japanese students' discussion about the Article 9, and a booklet in English "Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution attracts global attention." And our web site has English and Korean pages.