Art9: Unite to Build Peace together

mmlung des Ökum. Rates der Kirchen, Pusan 2013
Workshop "Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution"  


Madang Workshop: Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution
November 7, 2013

May People of All Faiths Unite to Build Peace Together

Rev. TAKEDA Takao
Monk, Nipponzan Myōhōji Temple

Na mu myō hō ren ge kyō (Devotion to the Mystic Law of Lotus Sutra)

I am a Buddhist monk from Japan. I first wish to say a word of apology.

Today, 60 years after a ceasefire was struck in the Korean War, peace has still not been realized on the Korean Peninsula. In the North and the South, a combined 4 million people lost their lives in the Korean War. Meanwhile, special demands associated with the war in Korea stimulated economic growth in Japan. In humanitarian and ethical terms, this was an unforgivable historic event. As a Japanese person I wish to apologize for this and express my heartfelt sorrow.

At the present time, Japan's Prime Minister ABE Shinto is seeking to eliminate Article 9 of the Constitution, and to turn Japan into a "nation that does war." The revised Constitution proposed by the current governing party, the Liberal Democratic Party, aims to "build a nation that takes the Emperor as head of state and will, with its National Defense Army, do war together with the United States."

Japan today is very similar to the military-dominated social conditions that prevailed during the pre-war years, with open hate speech toward Korea and China rampant.

Amid this climate, we the people of various faiths issued an appeal, titled "Let's Safeguard Article 9 of the Constitution: Joint Declaration by Persons of Faith," on May 3 of this year. In this Declaration we stated; "Taking as our primary mission respect and protection of life, we people of faith who hold hands to realize world peace pray for and demand protection of Article 9." To date we have received signatures of support from 12,000 people of religion from across Japan. Amid rising public awareness, due to this focused initiative against constitutional revision by various faiths, as well as other popular initiatives, and also voices of opposition even from within conservative pro-revision circles, Prime Minister ABE Shinzo appears to have given up the idea of revising the actual wording of the Constitution and is now attempting to revise the Constitution through interpretation.

Through our monthly Prayer Action for Peace in front of the national Diet, which is now in its 10th year, we people of various faiths have been working to safeguard Article 9 and realize a true nation of peace without military bases or nuclear power generation, together with people of faith in Okinawa and Fukushima and broad-based citizens from throughout Japan.

In past wars Japan has caused immeasurable harm in Korea and China, and also against other peoples of Asia, but now we are at risk of seeing Japan become a military menace again under the leadership of Prime Minister ABE Shinzō, grandson of war criminal KISHI Nobusuke.

We vow to stop Japan's drift toward military nationalism, and to work with you to realize true peace in Asia.

We ask for your kind cooperation. Thank you very much.