Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Protect Article 9: "Stop becoming a country that wages wars"

Kyodo has this photo from a demonstration with groups opposed to revising Japan's Constitution, and its war-renouncing Article 9, in Tokyo, on November 3, the 60th anniversary of the Constitution's 1946 promulgation. The banner says "Lets stop becoming a country that makes war".

The Japan Times notes that discussions about revising the war-renouncing Article 9, which limits the military to self-defense, have been brewing for years, but the recent nuclear threat from North Korea has brought the debate to a head:

The anniversary also comes at a time when Japan has seen its first postwar-born prime minister take office, a conservative hawk who declared amending the Constitution a priority in his effort to end the "postwar regime" of guilt.

"It's been 60 years, and during this time there has been a change of hands between two generations," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday on the eve of the anniversary. "Over this long period of time, the Constitution's basic values of peace, democracy and human rights have taken firm root among the Japanese people."

Abe, who has stayed relatively low-key on the issue since becoming prime minister in late September, said last week that having Japanese people write their own Constitution will open up a new era.

He said clearly for the first time in an interview with the Financial Times last week that he aims to achieve the revision during his term in office, which could last six years if he succeeds in being re-elected president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

In the interview, Abe specifically cited Article 9, which renounces Japan's right to wage war or maintain armed forces, as a "typical example" of provisions that no longer suit the current times.

"This article needs to be revised from the viewpoint of Japan's defense, and also to comply with international expectations that Japan make international contributions" to peacekeeping and other missions, he was quoted as saying.

More photos from recent anti-nuclear demonstrations and peace events in Japan at the mkimpo website, Peace Forum and World Peace Now.

1 comment:

Pandabonium said...

I wonder how many Japanese citizens are familiar with the family histories of their PMs and ministers? Do they know that most have fathers or grandfathers who were part of fascist Japan's government? That it is an almost unbroken succession of power?

It appears that the average person here is anti war and relatively "liberal" in the USA sense, yet the ruling party for the last 50+ years is anything but "liberal" or "democratic" in their ideology.