2015: NGO NoWarNetwork
The State Secrets Protection Bill (2013)
NGO NoWarNetwork, Japan
NGO NO WAR NETWORK
As a group of concerned citizens and NGOs promoting international cooperation and exchange, we stand together in opposition to the security bills that are currently being debated in the Japanese Diet, and the attempt to make Japan a country that can go to war. We have seen for ourselves the reality of how the mechanisms of war, along with the despair and backlash that come from people being robbed of their natural human rights, create a hotbed for terrorism. Given the various examples that exist around the world, we are certain that being freed from poverty and hunger, and the enjoyment of natural human rights is what leads to peaceful and safe societies. In order to achieve this, however, we must increase our efforts to engage in dialogue instead of conflict. Dialogue among nations will continue to be difficult as long as unequal relationships between different countries remain, but we have learned first‒hand that dialogue between citizens and between neighboring regions is nevertheless possible. It is precisely because mutual trust exists that societies in which people live together in peace can be built. As the NGO NO WAR NETWORK, we believe that peace cannot be created through force, and are using our platform as NGOs to call out to all citizens. Our aim is to create a widespread network of people joined together in this aim.
On July 4, 2002, we created our first NGO NO WAR NETWORK. The original NGOs that gathered were those which felt a sense of crisis in the face of the post‒9/11 “War on Terror” and ensuing limits on civil liberties in the name of anti‒terrorism that took the world by storm. At the time, the US was proceeding with its preparation for the war in Iraq, and emergency legislation was being deliberated in the Japanese Diet. The NGO Network released statements calling for “True Peace and Security” and in opposition to the Iraq war. In addition, we hosted various events, coordinating peace demonstrations, and providing information about the foreign war on terror. The NGO Network was eventually dissolved, but in the face of the current international situation and Japan’s rapidly developing policies that will lead the country to war, we felt we could not stand idly by. Thus, the no warfare movement was reestablished, incorporating the spirit of the original NGO NO WAR NETWORK.
We are a group of NGOs that partake in cross‒border cooperative efforts to solve problems related to poverty, the environment, human rights, and various conflicts, regardless of the specific interests of individual countries. We question the ways in which economic policies and political legislation contributes to the silencing of the voices of those who are impoverished due to war and continue to be oppressed. We have also created a space to develop international cooperation and learning that encourages prosperity for all, allowing for people to live in harmony with their own beliefs and values. We take very seriously the declaration made in the Japanese Constitution and Article 9 to achieve a peaceful existence for all through non‒military means. As NGOs that stand in solidarity with efforts to achieve an internationally cooperative civil society, we hope to call on citizens and the government to oppose both war in general as well as the pro‒war legislation, joining in a movement that is spreading to different political and societal sectors of Japan. Instead of remaining silent now and regretting it in the future, we wish to join with others who share our concerns and to keep working to achieve our mission, no matter how small or insignificant our actions may seem.
Japan deeply scarred other Asian countries as the perpetrators in past wars. We in Japan have also experienced the tragedies of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings as well as the Battle of Okinawa. Ultimately, the victims of all of these wars were always the common citizens. This is especially true in Okinawa, where many people committed mass suicide to follow the order they were given of “death rather than capture”. They were killed not by the war with the USA but rather by the Japanese war machine.
Learning from these experiences, the Japanese Peace Constitution vowed never again to cause war, and settle international disputes without the use of force. This Peace Constitution and pacifist philosophy could have been unique assets of Japan, used to contribute to peace in the world. However, we neglected to make use of this asset and work to truly create peace. We must use our platform as NGOs from the standpoint of common citizens to once again address the issue of creating peace while following anti‒warfare principles. These efforts cannot be left solely to the government.
Around the world, the number of citizens’ voices calling for peace and justice is growing. We must join with these movements and tenaciously work to change our increasingly militaristic and violent world. It is in order to do this that we are raising our voices and opposing the security bills that the Abe Administration is currently trying to force through the Diet.
Matters of security and peace should not be entrusted to governments and the United Nations alone. We aim to create a net of peaceful coexistence, cooperation and exchange that goes beyond borders, and establish an alternative to the current national security that both truly protects and is created by the common citizen.
Source: Webpage: ngo-nowar.net