2007: Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution - Panel II


TAKAHASHI Tetsuya

Prof. Dr. TAKAHASHI Tetsuya
Tokyo University

Panel Discussion 2

Good morning, everyone. My name is TAKAHASHI, Tetsuya. I'm a scholar, teaching philosophy at Tokyo University. As one of citi¬zens of Japan, first of all, I'd like to welcome you, the religious members of the world, who gathered together here today on the theme of "Peace" of Asia and the rest of the world as well to address the topic by examining Article 9 of Japan's Constitution as a work clue. Then also, my whole-hearted respect goes to you for your unceasing prayers for peace and your day-to-day actions to make those prayers come true.

It has been touched upon earlier today by other speakers that Article 9 of our Constitution has played a significant role for post-war Japan to remain as a country that will not engage in wars. Towards the second half of the 19th century, Japan has built itself to be a modern, unified state. In such nation building efforts, strong military forces were also built up and retained, having led to an invasion to our neighbor Asian countries. The result of it all, at the end, was a defeat in the last war, having cost a tremendous number of lives of the Japanese. As one of the consequences of the defeat in WWII, Article 9 came to being in the new Constitu¬tion. The article consists of three pillars: (A) The Japanese people forever renounce war; (B) In order to accomplish that, war potential, i.e., military forces, will not be maintained; (C) The people of Japan will not recognize the right of belligerency of the state. As a result of inclusion of Article 9, post-war Japan as a state has not engaged in any war, not even once. This marks a big change in view of the fact that the same state before the defeat in 1945 used to be war-ridden. No further empha¬sis is needed that Article 9 played a major role in bringing about this great change.

One particular political trend in our country these days, as you know, is picking up its momentum, quite strongly, which advocates to put an end to Article 9 so as to officially maintain military forces, and to recognize the use of military power. It so advocates in the name of not only defending one's own country but also trying to maintain world peace elsewhere, meaning to even recognize the use of force overseas. This stream of trying to revise the article in question must be stopped, I'm convinced. Great responsibilities are on the shoulders of Japanese citizens to¬day to keep Article 9 as it is and try to give life to its idea.

The Constitution of Japan upholds its pacifism in the form and language of Article 9. There, I want you to take another look at its preamble. In it, the idea of pacifism is stated which comes in line with renunciation of war, non-maintenance of war potential and denial of the right of belligerency as stipulated in Article 9. In it is included also the idea that it's not enough for Japan alone to enjoy peace but that the peoples of the world have the right to live in peace. Let me quote to be exact: "We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want." This idea of right to peaceful life, or that every one in the world has the right to live in peace, is an important thinking that Japanese people can share with peoples of the rest of the world. I just wanted everyone here today to take a special note of the preamble.

Having such a preamble and Article 9 in the Constitution, Japan has so far man¬aged to this date to be a country free of war. Be that as it may, however, I'm of the opinion that I as one of the citizens of Japan myself have to sincerely reflect upon the fact that there were a variety of problems in the past 60 years of Japan's post¬war era. In conjunction with the pacifist idea of the Constitution, here I'd like to roughly point out two issues.

First, Article 9 in the first place was indeed an article drawn up at the time of Japan's defeat to prevent the country from rebuilding arms so as not to invade Asian neighbors again with strong military force nor to grow again to be a threat to world peace. The people of Japan at that time welcomed it wholeheartedly. It was because we strongly realized that the people of Japan themselves had to undergo great damage and suffering from the war Japan started, and therefore they felt "we had it more than enough." Such a general mood was there in the background of a favorable acceptance of Article 9 at that time. It is true, at the same time, that fears and anxieties were also expressed of not having military force, of not arming our¬selves at all in the world where wars break one after another without stop, and of renouncing war altogether. People harbored such anxieties on one hand, and that's true. The same people really held it strong on the other, however, that they had learned what a war was about. The latter feelings were so overwhelmingly preva¬lent in the people's consciousness that Article 9 was welcomed.

In such consciousness, one important element was missing, I must say. That is, peace-consciousness of Japanese people was born out of nothing but victim-con¬sciousness. Their being an assailant in the war was totally lacking in that con¬sciousness.

Here's one symbolic account of a Japanese critic by the name of KIYOSAWA Kiyoshi. During the days before WWII, he was brave and very active in criticizing Japan's militarism of the time. Once the war broke out, however, he had to retreat from an active front due to suppression of speech. The realm of his engagement was left only to keep his diary. January 1st, 1945 -- the first day of the year when Japan faces defeat later -- he wrote: "The Japanese people are now experiencing war for the first time."

Well, historical facts were that Japan had been fighting in the Pacific War since 1941, or in the all-out war against China starting in 1937. If you count in the Manchurian Incident of 1931, Japan had been in wars for 15 years already. Yet the critic writes "the Japanese people are now experiencing war for the first time" on January 1st of 1945. What should that suppose to mean? That means that the people of Japan had no direct experience of a battlefield before that date. Japanese forces were fighting wars of aggression always out of their own country, for in¬stance, in Korean Peninsula, in the Continent of China, and in Southeast Asia. An overwhelming majority of the people who lived in Japan had no way of experienc¬ing battlefield themselves. In other words, they could never taste the feeling of tragedy of battlefield. So, these wars of aggression were supported by a lot of people inside Japan. One year before the defeat, the Japanese experienced for the first time in life what it might mean to run around for safety under the bombardment by the US planes. After Kiyosawa's jotting down, or in the very year of the defeat came the great air-raids over Tokyo, A-bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the bloody battles in Okinawan islands. Just then began a series of experience as a victim that made Japanese people to think enough was enough with war.

One lesson we can draw forth from this is that it's rather hard for us to come to realize about one's responsibility of war involvement as long as the ones, or we for that matter, are left in safety while the military machine fighting war somewhere in the, distance. I must say that the people of Japan at large as well as the govern¬ment have not yet reached reconciliation based on sincere apologies and compen¬sation with the peoples in the region Japan invaded in the past. If prayers for peace were based only upon the victim-consciousness - well, praying for peace by itself is of course important - if we were only offering prayers for peace from a safe position, those prayers would never reach the ones who would have no other ways than to run around and around in a battlefield. They could likely end up in prayers incomplete, I fear.

We are dealing with a war and peace issue today from a safe place, while a battle¬field, wherever it might be, is always filled with tragedy. Now, what is important in such a setting is to try to nurture within ourselves the sensibilities which would help us feel by the power of imagination the tragic nature of war. Also to try to nurture the same among the younger generations through education. The victim- consciousness and the assailant-consciousness at the same time. Let me emphasize here that we are called to be ever conscious about the responsibility for not having been able to change the reality today whereby a lot of lives are lost by the military force-that-be.

Second, I have to say that Japan of the past 60 years has not been peaceful. Why? Because the Japanese people were involved in war indirectly, to say the least, under the de-facto military alliance called the Japan-US Security Treaty, despite Article 9. Okinawa is a region where 75% of US bases in Japan are concentrated based upon this Security Treaty. The people of Okinawa have been victimized in many ways by the fact that the largest US base of the Far-East region had been located there. The very presence of US bases, just that fact alone, was a threat to the peaceful living of everyone's daily life. The residents of Okinawa had to suffer such a situation, just to live, for 60 years ever since the close of the last war. Also we should recall that the people of Vietnam, for instance, were hit by the bombers of the US military based in Okinawa. Recently, as you know well, the US Marines were deployed from Okinawa, and joined the attack against Iraq. This means that the government of Japan which upholds pacifism as expressed in the preamble and Article 9 of the Constitution has allowed the US forces to take part from the bases in Japan in assault missions to Vietnam and to the war in Iraq, following the agreements with the US government. The people of Japan who supported the gov¬ernment that ratified the Treaty must be said that they in their own ways had a part in those wars --- in Vietnam, in Iraq, and elsewhere as far as the US forces had been involved.

In that particular sense, we just can't justify a stance of "we have Article 9, and we'll keep it just as we have done in the past." We shouldn't be complacent just there. I strongly believe that we are called to concretely materialize what Article 9 asserts, to materialize the right to peaceful living as described in the preamble, that is, "all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want," to make peaceful living come true, to give real life to Article 9 ip every possible way. Not just in Okinawa, but in Korea are the US military bases. With a divided Korea still a reality, East Asia is not at all a peaceful region. In order to construct order of peace in this part of the world, I'd like to put my efforts, to¬gether with you, into a movement which will materialize the content of Article 9 and the idea of the right to peaceful life as expressed in our Constitution.

Lastly, I'd like to make a point here that the religious people, just like you, are to have greater responsibilities. There once lived a Lt. General in Denmark of early 20th century, by the name of Frits Holm. He proposed a law, titled "Projected Law, The Enactment, Promulgation and Enforcement of Which Will Prevent War among Nations". If a congress or parliament of every country of the world would come forward in drawing up such legislation, it would be guaranteed, he believed, that wars would be forever gone from this planet.

The contents of this interesting idea are as follows. Within 10 hours after an outbreak of war, the following people in the order predetermined would be sent to the front line simply as one soldier. The first one that has to go to the very front at a battlefield before anybody else is the head of state, such as president. The second would be male-relatives of that head of state. They would then be followed by the government's top level personnel, including prime minister, ministers of state, senior officials and the like. Then the turn comes to those in congress who ap¬proved the war and those who did not oppose it. If people were to be sent to the front line in such order, no state could carry on wars. It is because a war, war of any kind, is something that the power-that-be of a state, together with those who make gains out of war effort, decides to go on at the cost of general people. Those in power would never approve war if they were the first ones on a probable victim list.

That's what this legislation is about, and I'm sorry to say that so far no country has yet to come up with one. At any rate, such of his view beautifully exposes the mechanism of a state in favor of war.

By the way, the order in his suggested law was, if you remember, the head of state, its male-relatives, ministers of government and top bureaucrats, followed by members of congress/parliament. Now, the order list lists the fifth group of people to be dispatched to the front. They are the leaders of religious world who did not oppose the war. Christians, Buddhists, whoever they maybe, as long as they did not openly oppose the war, they would have to go to a battlefield, the 5th in line, along with the state powers. Frits Holm believed, in other words, religious leaders by the virtue of what they are must be held more responsible. The religious, lead¬ers of religious circle, who preach the dignity of life everyday and who preach the preciousness of peace, must be held responsible for stopping war before anybody else would do. That's what I read in Frits Holm's projection.

In closing, let me promise to you that I as one of the citizens of Japan will not only continue to defend Article 9 but try my best to make this idea come true, and to give life to it. Also, I would like to make a special emphasis again on the idea of the right to peaceful life as articulated in the preamble mentioned earlier. Let us confirm here today that all the peoples of the world equally have the right to live in peace, free from any fear and want.

Thank you very much.



Dr. Takahashi was born in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, in 1956.
He is currently Professor at the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Arts and Science. He is a well known philosopher in Japan. He has written numerous books and has been speaking on Japan's war responsibility and issues related to Yasukuni Shrine. Mr. Takahashi also played a role in introducing a movie with much impact to Japan, called "Shoah" (a witness of Holocaust survivors.)

 


Pomnyun Sunim

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim
Zen Master, Jungto Society Foundation, Südkorea

Panel Discussion 2

(1) Make ourselves peace itself and let us build peace

(2) Make peace with ourselves to make peace

(3) Be peaceful with yourself to be a peace maker

- What should we do for the preservation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and for lasting peace in East Asia -

At one theater an exciting play was in progress. As it went on, all of a sudden, some people sitting in front rows stood up on their feet, hoping to take a better look at what was going on on the stage. Having been blocked the view, those in the following back rows were tempted to also stand up, which they eventually did. People in the further back rows were left with no other choices than to do likewise

themselves.

"Before one came to notice, the whole audience in the theater was on their feet so as to secure a better view."

Japan's neighbors remain sensitive (alert)

Korea is very sensitive to political changes and responses Japan makes. A claim gets any Korean furious of Dokto/Takeshima being a part of Japanese territory. And, Japan naming East Sea 'the Sea of Japan', or its politicians worshiping at Yasukuni Shrine, for instance, make the people of Korea ever so agitated. The Wednesday Prayer Meeting by those old ladies, once called "comfort women" of the Japanese military, is still today conducted every week at the heart of Seoul.

Korea suffered invasion by Japan and was put under its colonial rule for 36 years. During those decades, many of our people were taken to Japan by force and conscripted accordingly. There, many died, and many more injured. Germany and Italy, the war-criminal states that triggered World War II, confessed their past sins and repented. They then made profound efforts to give assuring relief to their neighbors. Because of that, a new Germany when uniting the once divided nation faced little resistance coming from its neighboring countries. Japan yet, on the contrary, has not won the hearts and minds of the people of Korea, China, and Southeast Asian countries which it invaded, thus not being trusted ever, because it has not made sincere apologies to them.

Japan today is the second economic power of the world. Before the eyes of Asian countries as well as the world community at large, it has yet been unable to suc¬cessfully demonstrate its leadership that is on a par with its economic might. It is because Japan has been, and still is, viewed by its neighbors with skepticism of becoming a military giant again. It is, further, because they regard Japan not as a country that would make efforts for peace in East Asia, but, rather, as a country that puts high priority on gaining its own profit alone without due, straightfor¬ward regret over its past wrongdoings.

Importance of Article 9 of the Peace Constitution

In November of 1946, Japan enacted its so-called Peace Constitution. It was an anti-war as well as a peace constitution in that it renounces war of any kind (ex¬cepting the right to self-defense) and also states clearly that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of bellig¬erency of the state will not be recognized." However passively Japan might have consented to enact this constitution as a defeated nation at that time, still it is a peace constitution, unprecedented throughout the world history to this date. Re¬cently, however, Japan's lawmakers have passed a bill of national referendum through which the long-cherished Article 9 could be amended. To such a move, a grave concern has been expressed by many conscientious elements within Japa¬nese society along with religious people. Similar voices of concern have come up from among peace and friendship organizations in Korea and China. They all op¬pose possible amendment of the constitution. They do so on the ground, for one, that the very ghost of militarism might revive in Japan if and when the present constitution should be changed. The nightmare of the Pacific War has not been forgotten by many.

Teaching of respect for every life, or that of 'Do not kill living things'

In its teachings, Buddhism has five important commandments that we have to observe. A first is that of 'Do-not-kill'. It says we should not kill wantonly any life that is alive and living. When it comes to sense a deadly danger, even a small creature like an earthworm writhes so as to escape to safety. Let alone a human being.

A war, an invasion of other nations' lands just for the interest of your own country, costs many people's lives, and gives pains especially to the vulnerable populace like women, the aged, and children. A war, therefore, is an extreme form and system of killing in that sense. Precisely because of that, a war should not take place nor should be planned or prepared in any way by anybody. An attempt of amending Article 9 is simply equal to a Japan's will to maintain hegemony over the region in question by equipping itself with military power, the means of war. It betrays the teaching of "do-not-kill".

Japan's re-armament and support of the US

Militaristic forces in Japan are dreaming of a re-armed Japan while reflecting little over the past wars of invasion. The US, on the other hand, endorses the Japan's agenda for re-armament, mainly due to its deep concern over China's hegemony challenge in the region, based on China's economic growth in the years to come. In order to check China, the US is trying to re-shuffle its military system in East Asia so as for the Japan-based US power to be able to extend its control even over the Korean Peninsula. While these moves are in the making, Japan tries to become an "ordinary country", as it says, that can resort to starting a war by replacing the US, with its consent, in terms of the defense role of the said region.

Japan tries to build up public sentiment that would come to demand its re-arma¬ment by raising the domestic tension level on the pretext of such threats of north Korea as, among others, its nuclear weapons development project and the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals. In January this year what used to be the Defense 'Agency' was promoted to the Defense 'Ministry'. Hand in glove with the US world strategy, Japan is strenuously building up its gigantic military power so as to be¬come a state exercising hegemony over Asia. Through strengthening the alliance with the US, Japan makes all the efforts of completing a military layout by which dispatching Japanese troops overseas just as it pleases may become possible with 'the cause of the UN' as an almighty excuse for it.

How can we sit still and let go such Japan's military expansionist steps, one after another in front of our eyes? Why? Because Japan's past deeds of invading Korea drove hundreds and thousands of Koreans into the war, many of them died and injured having been used as human shield, and as for women, they were also rounded up as so-called "comfort women" to become sex slaves. In addition, a number of activists for independence of Korea were tortured, imprisoned, and put to death. Despite such grave acts against the people of Korea, Japan has not yet showed any sincere repentance, but instead devotes itself to building up military power. How can we regard Japan as one of peace-loving nations?

East Asia going against the world trend of disarmament

Contrary to the growing atmosphere of arms reduction throughout the world, an arms race is on the go in East Asia, just here alone on the globe. Korean Peninsula has long witnessed its own version of arms race in face of the conflict between North and South. China in the region, too, is rapidly building up its military might. These currents are only contributing good excuses for Japan of joining the arms race itself and becoming a military super-power. It is such change on the part of Japan that north-east Asia is mapped by the rest of the world community not as a peaceful region helping to build world peace but rather as a dangerous region whereby military expansion races are in the making growingly.

The move of amending Peace Constitution of Japan is not an issue that only involves Japanese people alone. It does affect many a country in Asia and the rest of the world. This is ever so true to China, Korea and other Asian countries that were once in history invaded by Japan. Article 9 is a safety device for keeping peace in East Asia and in the rest of the world as well. Not only that, it has a potential to provide a very important ground for Japan to be able to exercise its leadership as a peace-loving country.

What should be done for peace in East Asia? Then, what should we be doing after all?

First of all, people of all religions must pronounce peace messages that denounce war and arms race, and devote so as to become peace keepers and peace makers themselves as well as educating their own people in that direction.

The religious along with civic groups in Japan and Korea as leading forces must monitor every war preparation that their own government makes, organize a num¬ber of rallies in opposition to such preparatory actions, persuade leaders of all walks of social organizations, and finally win sympathy and support from the people. They should disclose to the general public the very fact that the arms expansion for a security purpose simply leads to a more serious threat to the security of Japan and to this particular region in question.

We are called to further deploy joint actions and concrete activities through close solidarity and by setting up networks of standing (permanent) nature as well as smooth communications channels among religious and civic groups of East Asia that are already deploying such activities. Keeping all these mechanisms operative and 'workable, we are also called to closely cooperate with various peace forces of the world so as to pay due efforts of peace making in this East Asian region.

Each and every religious man and woman should acquire peace-based sensitivity as well as enlightenment (awakening) as the one who is directly concerned with the question of peace, and should keep making every effort of forwarding and reflecting upon peace-spirituality.

A final remark

Japan is a beautiful country. It is our neighbor country, too. Rather than hating and feuding with one another based solely on past wounds, let us try to look at a lot of futures that we are to appreciate. If Korea and Japan, and China as well, resolve today to advance close cooperation with one another, they will set them¬selves a good model case of unprecedented prosperity and peaceful development as an economic community, a political community and a peace community in north¬east Asia, thus contributing a lot to the whole world and the human kind. Japan is an important member of the north-east Asian regional community. That's why it should speak up on peace more aggressively. That's why, also, it should try to give more trust and hopes to the neighboring countries.

Back to the lesson at the beginning

If in a theater people stand up one row after another in reaction to standing-ups of front rows, the theater will be eventually filled with people standing up on their feet, resulting that a large majority being unable to enjoy the show after all. In order to appreciate what goes on right on the stage, we have to make those trying to get on their own feet be seated somehow. In order to make them all be seated, you who realized that key (point) should be the one who sits down first. A problem begins to see the light of solution only when and where you succeed to have others sit down by sitting down yourselves.

The reason why we oppose amending Article 9 of the Peace Constitution, let me emphasize here again, is not just to oppose any political programs of the govern¬ment of Japan, but to advance peace in East Asia, and also to help Japan to become a country that may exercise more and greater leadership in a world community as a peace-loving nation.

In the midst of such an "up-rising", the one who first decides dare to sit down so that others might follow and therefore every body can enjoy the show, i1 the im¬portant peace-maker. A role of a peace-maker in north-east Asia, busy racing in an arms race, sails out when that very peace-maker begins to reduce its own arma¬ment programs. Article 9 of Japan's Peace Constitution is exactly a stipulation which can play that role.


Rev. Sunim Pomnyun was born in 1953.
He is chairperson of the Join Together Society (JTS) of Korea, the Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees, and Eco-Bud¬dha. A Buddhist monk, he started a Buddhist civic group Jungto, and became an activist for Human Rights and Ecological movements based on personal conversion and spiritual discipline. In 1996, he founded a movement to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees from North Korea and is actively involved in alleviating hunger and food scarcity in North Korea, appealing for emergency aid for refugees. Developing a movement promoting human rights in North Korea, he has constantly worked to foster peace and unification on the Korean Peninsula.
Venerable Ponmnyun Sunim was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award for the Peace and International Understanding in 2002.

 


Jean Stokan

Jean Stokan
Pax Christi, USA

Panel Discussion 2

First, thank you for inviting Pax Christi USA to be part of this important gathering, and a special thank you to the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace for engaging us in this noble cause to preserve Article 9 and also to promote it as a gift to the world. At a time when violence is spiraling out of control in too many corners of the world, much of which is fueled by a US militarized foreign policy, Article 9 is a unique institutional model of political non-violence that is desperately, desperately needed.

I sometimes find it difficult to admit that I am from the U.S. I know that you in this gathering can distinguish U.S. citizens from the actions of the U.S. govern¬ment, and I thank you for your warm welcome, yet I still feel shame in knowing what my country has done to unleash so much destructive power in the world. Next week I will stay on to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in order to touch that wound-and on behalf of our Catholic peace movement, I renew our profound apol¬ogy for the U.S. atomic bombings of your people. Your people are our people; and there are no words to fully capture our grief. We can only offer our unwavering commitment to join with you in our shared mission to end all war, to end all violence.

In the Christian tradition of communion, we use a chalice in which bread and wine are joined and transform into the body and blood of Christ for us. It speaks to something transcendent that happens when great suffering is met with great love. I imagine that all of us are in this room because, at some point, our hearts were broken with stories of suffering from violence or war. But this room, like a chalice, not only holds the tears, but also our great love and passion for peace. So I trust that something will happening in this mix, this gathering, that will transform into a greater force for peace. I feel humbled and honored to be with you.

My comments today will be in 3 parts: first, to talk about Pax Christi's work on Article 9 through our collaboration with JCCJP; second, to outline a map of the broader U.S. peace movement; and third, to talk about the political context of the U.S.. Through this, I hope to name some areas of challenge as we go into strategizing action plans on how best to preserve Art. 9 and beyond.

1. Pax Christi USA CCJP.

First, what is Pax Christi? Pax Christi is the global Catholic peace movement, founded 60 years ago as a gesture of reconciliation between French and German Catholics following WWII. There are Pax Christi national sections or affiliate groups in over 50 countries, including PCUSA and CCJP. PC has non-governmental status at the UN.

In the US, Pax Christi is a grassroots membership organization, with 400 local chapters, 600 religious congregational members, 130 individual Catholic bishops and over 20,000 individual members. Our mission is to promote nonviolence through prayer, study and action-- beginning in our personal lives, and extending outward to promote nonviolence in societal structures. We are independent from the official Catholic church, which enables us to move quickly to respond to issues, and to do so with a prophetic voice.

A year and a half ago, CCJP asked to come and address the annual assembly of Pax Christi USA, and to engage our support for Article 9. That first delegation included Bishop Goro Matsuura, Deacon Nagasawa and Sr. Filo Hirota, and their presentation was compelling. They opened our eyes to the broader context of the U.S. military transformation of the Asia Pacific, and we were quickly convinced of the urgent need to become involved. A second delegation of Sr. Filo and Archbishop Takami of Nagasaki returned in March 07.

For both delegations, we organized a host of advocacy activities in Washington, D.C. including:

- meetings with Members of Congress

- speaking presentations to faith groups, peace groups, Japanese-American Catholics, and a major presentation at Georgetown University,

- we organized meetings with Catholic Church leadership, including our U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, individuals bishops, and a Cardinal-in order to urge them to use their diplomatic channels to the U.S. Administration ; and

- organized media interviews to generate news articles on Article 9.

We also promoted grassroots advocacy in which Pax Christi members from around the U.S. sent email messages to the Japanese prime minister's website in support of Article 9, and sent copies to our Members in the U.S. Congress to alert them to this issue.

When Prime Minister Abe came to Washington last April, we collected about 100 letters in support of Article 9, primarily from women's religious orders, and hand-delivered these to the Japanese Embassy on the day that the Prime Minister arrived. The night he had dinner with President Bush, we held a vigil outside the White House in protest.-and though small in numbers, we had a mix of nuns, peace activists, a Buddhist priest and kids in strollers-and made our presence known- with a banner: "Article 9 - gift to the world...keep it.".

All these efforts are but a humble contribution. We know that it will be the Japanese people who will decide on Article 9, and that our job is to challenge the U.S. policies of militarism and its "war on terrorism" that is pressing the Japanese government to eliminate its most precious gift of Article 9. It's a struggle on both sides of the world.

2. Broader Peace Movement in the U.S.

Our peace movement in the U.S. is composed of a wide network of organizations, doing a variety of activities. I will name some of the categories, and invite you to keep in mind those groups with whom you might have a relationship, perhaps as a counterpart, who could be brought into our struggle to preserve Article 9. I sug¬gest this, in part, because it has been very difficult for us to find other groups in the U.S. working on Article 9, or even know about the broader context of the U.S. military transformation in the Asia-Pacific. For our peace movements, the chal¬lenge is that there are SO MANY aspects of the US "war on terrorism" that we are protesting, including: the war and occupation of Iraq, the use of torture, prevent¬ing a possible war on Iran, and on and on.

So getting back to the map...

A. First, there are the religious peace efforts, including:

- the work of the National Council of Christian Churches-the mainline Protestant denominations, and the different denominational peace fellowships

- the Evangelical Christian Churches, including organizations like Sojourners

- Catholic groupings. In addition to Pax Christi, others include the Center of Concern, NETWORK, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Maryknoll, Colombans, Jesuits and more.

- Peace churches: the Quakers, Mennonites and Church of the Brethren

- Jewish groups, including Tikkun and The Shalom Center

- the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, which in Washington, D.C., holds Saturday silent vigils outside the Capitol

- the Muslim Peace Fellowship

- Fellowship of Reconciliation

The religious peace groups: educate, advocate for peace with representatives in Congress, pray for peace, and organize public actions. Religious peace groups are almost always a major part of public actions and demonstrations.

B. Second there are the secular peace groups, well as large national "umbrella" organizations and coalitions with many local members:

- Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

United for Peace and Justice, of which PCUSA is a member, which organizes major national demonstrations

- Move-on.org, a virtual organization, using email and web technology to generate advocacy:

- Code Pink, mostly women, who often disrupt Congressional hearings with dramatic visual effects.

C. Third, there are the peace movements representing particular constituencies, such as

- 9-11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

- Torture Abolition Survivors' Support Coalition (TASSC), Campaign to Close Guantanamo

- Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War

D. Fourth, organizations that do research and analysis for peace

E. Fifth, Lobby and Policy Advocacy Groups

F. Sixth, Alternative media, including radio and web news outlets.

G. Lastly, Political organizing and education in the electoral political arena

- to change the balance of power in the US government

There are many more groups, but hopefully this gives a picture of the U.S. peace movement as a complex web of projects carrying out a multitude of activities every day, from Washington DC to the smallest towns. All of us vehemently oppose US national security policy and the so-called war on terror, and we are working in every way we can think of -- to change the US way of being in the world.

3. Political Context in the U.S.

The Bush Administration has used the excuse of a "war on terror" to pursue a national security strategy based on military dominance in service of economic prosperity, at any cost.

I will be quoting from a document of the Bush Administration, entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" from September 2002. In it, "national security" is defined as the need to protect "American interests" and defend "our way of life." So what is this "way of life"? The document continues: "Free markets and free trade are key priorities to our national security strategy... We will seek to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets and free trade to every corner of the world."

This free market underpinning of national security is mostly hidden in the po¬litical discourse. Instead, the Bush Administration repeatedly uses words like "threats" "attacks from terrorists," "enemies" and "vulnerability" to promote a culture of fear to justify its "war on terror."

Catholic theologian Rev. Bryan Massingale, however, captured it well in a paper comparing the American vision of security with a "faith based vision of security." He concludes that the Bush Administration's promotion of "freedom" really means "the freedom to buy and sell, the freedom to acquire and consume, the freedom (he says) to shop."

A key point to remember about this stated goal of "economic prosperity" is that it is about prosperity for a few. Last year, 35.5 million Americans went hungry. Three million are homeless, 2 million are in prisons, and 47 million are without health care. There has been a scandalous robbing of the national budget diverted to a military build-up that is out of control.

In terms of military dominance to ensure economic prosperity (again for a few), what is distinctive in the Bush 2002 National Security strategy is the stance that the U.S. will act preemptively, unilaterally and with overwhelming power, to main¬tain U.S. interests. The possible use of preemptive nuclear strikes was included in this. Another quote from the Bush document:

"Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling the power of the United States....Our best defense is a good offense... We cannot allow our enemies to strike first."

As suggested earlier, this Administration has used September 11th, 2001 to promote a culture of fear among the American public to justify a host of domestic and foreign policies that are crushing people and violating international laws and norms.

As a result, Guantanamo, for example, is allowed to exist and torture is viewed as necessary. Racism and Xenophobia are rampant. Immigrant families are afraid to take their sick kids to hospitals. Walls are being erected at our southern border to keep Mexicans out, though they keep crossing--and dying in the desert...AND there is no recognition that U.S. economic policies of corporate-driven trade and global¬ization are impoverishing people in other countries and creating the immigrant flow. Parallel to "gated communities" where middle and upper middle class hous¬ing complexes are surrounded by walls with guards at the entrance, the U.S. has become a gated empire.

Also, under the lie of "national security," the U.S. has ruthlessly pursued an illegal and immoral war and occupation of Iraq, a sin which has unleashed a spiral of violence and ripped apart the social fabric of an ancient nation. It has cost the lives of some 6-700,000 Iraqis, 3000+ U.S. service people; and left 4 million Iraqis internally displaced or living as refugees. The cost to date is about a 1/2 trillion dollars. All this in the name of "national security"-but which is really about con¬trolling Iraqi oil!

We have presidential elections next year, and though we cannot imagine that the Republican party will win the presidency again, nothing is definite. Our peace movement tries to unmask the lies, but many Americans are victims of mass media propaganda, wooed to sleep in front of televisions, or into shopping malls to con¬sume. The rhetoric of fear works, and so the presidential candidates keep talking about the U.S. needing to be militarily strong. And even if the Democrats get in, it will not necessarily mean a radical departure from our militarized foreign policy, nor the economic plundering of the world's resources.

In September, the Iranian president came to the U.S. for meetings at the U.N.-¬and nearly all the media coverage was about demonizing him, personalizing and painting him as an enemy, and thus by extension-demonizing the Iranian people. It's a strategy used to justify going to war. And we know that will be catastrophic. Pax Christi joined with other religious leaders in a private meeting with President Ahmadinejad to create another space-one of dialogue and listening. This was the U.S. religious community's humble effort to show there is another way to be in the world community. We were criticized by some, but our question in return-what is our choice?-to dialogue, or to bomb?

In conclusion, a hope for those of us gathered here as an inter-religious commu¬nity is that we can help chart another path, a nonviolent path. The phrase that comes to mind is "another world is possible;" and it goes further "another World is necessary, urgent" ...a world built on international cooperation, inclusive security, non-violence and peace. The theologian I referenced earlier, Rev. Massingale, of¬fered an alternative, biblical vision of security, of "shalom." While often translated as "peace," it goes much deeper. He says that shalom "is a vision of social whole¬ness a state of well-being for all, where everyone has access to the goods of cre¬ation intended to meet the needs of all."

That vision-is incompatible with military dominance. That vision is what true and lasting peace is about. That vision is enfleshed in Article 9 - and it IS what this world desperately, desperately needs.

There's a phrase by deceased social scientist Margaret Mead which says "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

I believe in that, as those of you who have been working so hard on Article 9 are making impact. Another image that fits comes from scientists working on "chaos theory." They refer to the "butterfly effect," in which the flap of a butterfly wing on one side of the globe-can accumulate enough momentum to change weather patterns on the other side of the globe.

For us in Pax Christi USA, Article 9 was nowhere on our scope 2 years ago. All it took was a butterfly flap: an email from small group of people, the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace-asking to come and talk to us. The face-to-face mat¬tered; both our hearts and heads were touched. Let us keep sending those emails, flapping those butterfly wings, asking more groups to draw close and build this movement.

I bow before the beautiful and important work you all have been doing on Ar¬ticle 9, and its significance for global peace. We thank you for your tireless efforts. We join with you, humbly, and in profound gratitude.


Ms. Stokan is Policy Officer of Pax Christi USA located in Washington, DC. Pax Christi is a global Catholic peace network operating in some 50 countries. Based on the non-violence of Jesus, Pax Christi advocates Disarmament, Demilitarization, Reconciliation with Justice, Economic and Interracial Justice, Human Rights and Global Restoration. Pax Christi USA has been working with the Catholic Council for Justice and Peace of Japan to defend and protect Article 9.

 

Im Wortlaut (English) als pdf-Datei,

 


Chandra Muzaraff

Prof. Dr. Chandra Muzaraff
Malaysia

Panel Discussion 2

While it does not seem likely that the Japanese government will in the immediate future abrogate or even modify Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, largely because of recent domestic political developments, peace activists cannot afford to be complacent about the danger of the emergence of a militarized Japan pursuing tl}e milita¬rized agenda of a militarized world.

This concern about a militarized Japan will be analyzed by first examining those forces that are determined to persuade Japan to assume an overt military role in future conflicts in the region and the world. It will be followed by reflections on some of the countervailing forces in the region and the world that may help to check this militaristic push. We shall then propose concrete measures that various civil society actors can adopt in order to strengthen peace. An attempt will be made to highlight the special role that religion --- in our case Islam --- can play in this endeavor. In our conclusion we shall give some attention to moves to prohibit war and how such moves can bring the different religious communities together.

A Military Role
Within Japanese society there has always been a nationalistic, militaristic ten¬dency associated with the political right. Groups that reflect this tendency are of the view that only a militarily strong Japan will be able to protect the nation's economic assets and defend a somewhat vulnerable insular society. Besides, mili¬tary muscle will also ensure that Japan has the capacity to secure oil and other much needed natural resources for a natural resource deficient nation.

Many of those who think along these lines are also critical of Japan's military dependence upon the United States and would like Japan to be a military power in its own right. But there are also those who see a militarily strong Japan as enhanc¬ing the US's military hegemony. Indeed, the US's own desire to strengthen Japan's military hand is yet another factor driving Japan in the direction of militarism. Why would the US that had insisted upon disarming Japan in the wake of the latter's defeat in the second world war now want to rearm Japan? There is no need to emphasize that it is because of the US's current policy of seeking to contain China. For some Washington elites, a militarily powerful Japan would not only serve as a counterweight to China but may even be able to thwart its ascendancy. This is why the US is so keen on the abrogation of Article 9.

Both militarism within Japanese society and the push from the US should be viewed in the context of some larger regional and global developments. A number of countries in the region such as China, North and South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan have all in the last decade or so increased their military expenditure for a variety of reasons. The growing economic prosperity of some of these countries may wit¬ness an escalation in such expenditure.

This is also happening at the global level with the US leading the world in mili¬tary spending. It is estimated that annual global military expenditure now stands at 1.2 trillion US dollars. The arms trade continues to flourish with a number of new actors joining the game. Newer and deadlier weapons are being manufac¬tured. Research in weapons technology has reached new heights.

Global militarization has become an even more serious threat to humankind since it has now found a new raison d’être. This is the US led global war on terror. Though sophisticated weaponry is of little help in the fight against terrorism, mili¬taristic elites and arms merchants are using the war on terror as an excuse to expand military budgets. At the same time, they refuse to address the root causes of global terrorism which are related directly to US occupation of foreign lands, its establishment of foreign bases, its usurpation of oil, and its endorsement of Israeli subjugation of the Palestinian people. As a close ally of the US, Japan is also not willing to come to grips with the underlying causes of global terrorism. In fact, Japanese leaders have often alluded to the threat of global terrorism as one of the principal justifications for rescinding Article 9.

Article 9 and Peace
If this is how Japanese elites and elites in the US and other parts of the world feel about militarization, what hope is there for the preservation of Article 9 and the maintenance of peace? Within Japanese society itself there is --- in spite of everything --- considerable support for Article 9 and the Peace Constitution. This sup¬port comes from people in all walks of life. Because of the terrible catastrophe of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a significant segment of the Japanese national commu¬nity is averse to war and remains deeply attached to the ideal of peace.

Outside Japan, in the rest of Asia, especially in Northeast and Southeast Asia, both governments and peoples are inclined towards political stability and eco¬nomic prosperity which they know are only possible if there is no war or armed conflict. Indeed, for more than two decades now the whole of the East Asian region stretching from China and Japan to Indonesia and the Philippines has experienced relative peace and tranquility. Steady economic development achieved within an environment of stability and security has become the dominant ethos of the re¬gion. It explains to some extent at least why the rest of East Asia rejects almost instinctively the thought of a militarily resurgent Japan. Besides, it brings back bitter memories of a tragic past.

East Asian states are also acutely aware of the mortal danger posed by a militar¬ily resurgent Japan forging an even stronger security alliance with the US. They have no doubt that it will trigger a response from China. It could lead to tensions in the region which would surely impede East Asian economic advancement. In other words, East Asia has a direct stake in the perpetuation of Article 9.

It is not just East Asia which fears war. The world as a whole is weary of war as demonstrated so vividly in the massive global opposition to the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003. It was arguably the biggest --- and the most extensive ---anti-war, pro-peace movement in human history. The protests revealed a profound yearning for peace which has expressed itself on other occasions in the last four years.

Peace Proposals
It is this yearning for peace that civil society should harness in the struggle against war, violence and militarization. Article 9 could serve as the rallying point for it embodies an unambiguous renunciation of "war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling disputes." Parliaments of the world should be persuaded to adopt resolutions which renounce war and the use of force as envisaged by Article 9. Political parties should also be encouraged to adopt a similar stand. Trade unions and business organizations should also join the effort. All sectors of society should be mobilized to the hilt to oppose war and militarization.

Islam's Contribution
It is in this regard that we visualize a special role for religion. Islam, like other religions, is orientated towards peace and justice. There is no need to emphasize that the term 'Islam' itself implies peace through submission to God. The Qur'an eulogizes peace as a noble goal and implores humankind to strive to create har¬mony and understanding among nations and peoples. It is because peace is only attainable if there is justice that the Qur'an pleads for justice. This is also why it deplores aggression and oppression since aggression jeopardizes peace and op¬pression repudiates justice.

Because aggression and oppression are anathema to the religion, Islam expects its followers to resist aggression and oppression. Resistance is vital for the protec¬tion of one's honor and dignity. These principles were embodied in the life and mission of the Prophet Muhammad. He defended his nascent Muslim community against aggression and oppression but at the same time did his utmost to avoid violence and bloodshed. Peace through justice was his cherished objective.

Prohibiting War
It is because peace is such an exalted ideal that Muslims have from time to time sought to translate this ideal into concrete reality. One such attempt was a pro¬posal to repudiate war as a means of resolving inter-state disputes which I had put forward on the eve of the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Kuala Lumpur in February 2003. In a letter to the media dated 2 February 2003, I suggested that "to be non-aligned today is not to be aligned to war. There are two advantages in defining non-alignment in this manner. It distinguishes-and distances --- NAM as a collectivity from Washington's formidable war machine while eschewing war as a tool of foreign policy. It also serves to remind NAM members themselves that they should not resort to war and violence as a means of settling conflicts".

I went on to argue that "to be non-aligned is not only to repudiate war but also to affirm faith in peace. After all peace was one of the most powerful motivations for the establishment of NAM. In both the 1947 Asian Relations Conference in Delhi and in the 1955 Bandung Conference --- widely recognized as precursors of the 1961 Belgrade meeting at which NAM was officially launched --- peace was proclaimed as one of the cardinal goals on non-alignment".

By a happy coincidence the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who presided at the NAM Summit used the occasion to also urge the world to prohibit war as a means of settling conflicts. Since retirement, Mahathir has launched a movement to criminalize war. It has not gained much momentum partly because the mainstream global media has chosen to ignore the movement.

One is not surprised by the media's attitude. The mainstream media is after all integral to the US helmed global power structure which seeks to perpetuate its hegemony through war and violence. It is simply not in the media's interest to criminalize war.

This is why we have no choice but to turn to the new media. Through the new information and communication channels available to us --- such as the internet and the DVD --- we should raise public awareness of the importance of combating war.

Indeed, criminalizing war should emerge as that fundamental mission that unites people of different faiths in a common struggle. No religion regards war as a virtue. The death and destruction that accompanies war is a denial of life and the sanctity of life that all religions cherish in different ways.

In the ultimate analysis it is because life is sacred in the eyes of each and every religion that the preservation and perpetuation of Article 9 has become such a blessed endeavor.



Dr. Chandra Muzzaffar is a Malaysian Political scientist, advocate for human rights and Presi¬dent of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
He received a Ph. D. in Political Science from the University of Singapore in 1977. He is concerned with social justice and human dignity in global politics based on shared universal, spiritual and moral values.

Im Wortlauf (English) als pdf-Datei, ,