Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan's Peace Constitution
  • Petitioning Shinzo Abe

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Prime Minister of Japan
Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Save Japan's Peace Constitution

    1. Petition by

      Global Article 9 Campaign

[Read this in Japanese, Spanish , French and Russian. Also find a previous version in Korean and Chinese.]

Today, Japan’s peace constitution is – more than ever – in danger.            
In a context of exacerbated regional tensions, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has accelerated his efforts to change war-renouncing Article 9, to allow Japan to exercise collective military action, and bolster the country’s security and military posture regionally and internationally.   

On July 1, Abe forced through a Cabinet decision that substantially eviscerates Article 9 of its principles and steps away from a number of the key principles that have governed Japan for decades.

Claimed to be a component of a new doctrine of “pro-active pacifism”, the cabinet decision is the latest of a long series of initiatives that overstep Article 9 and some of the country’s longstanding peace policies. These measures include formulating a new national security policy; establishing a National Security Council; revamping defense guidelines; announcing yet a further increase of the country’s military budget for 2014; and drastically relaxing the long-held arms export ban.

The decision to lift restrictions on Japan’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense needs to be understood in the context of the security cooperation between Japan and the US. Indeed, Washington, which has long prodded Tokyo for an increased Japanese participation in the US “Pivot to Asia”, has welcome the move, while Japan’s neighbors, notably China and South Korea, have expressed their concerns that it may further destabilize the fragile peace in the region.

Domestically, the move represents a “political coup”: not only does it overturn consistent interpretation by all past administration for decades, but it also bypasses the due democratic process for constitutional amendment (of approval by a 2/3 majority of the Diet and national referendum) and disregards broad public opposition.

Yet, the Cabinet decision to re-interpret Article 9 does not have the force of law, as more than a dozen laws still act as legal barriers to the constitutional reinterpretation and will need to be amended by parliament in order to enact the change.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution:                 
“ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

Japan’s Peace Pledge                   
Japan adopted its war-renouncing constitution following World War II. Article 9 is a pledge to Japan itself and to the world, particularly neighboring countries that suffered under Japanese invasions and colonial rule, to never repeat its mistakes.

Despite constitutional restrictions, Japan has developed and gradually expanded its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to become one of the world’s top military spenders and one of the most advanced militaries in Asia. Yet, to date, the existence of Article 9 – and the Japanese people's support for its principles – have forced the government to maintain peace policies, including non-export of arms, a non-nuclear policy, and not deploying the SDF for active combat.

Global Impact of Article 9                            
Article 9 is not just a provision of the Japanese law. It also acts as an international peace mechanism towards reducing military spending, supporting conflict prevention, promoting nuclear-weapon-free zones, recognizing the human right to peace, and more.

Risks for Regional/International Peace and Stability             
At the regional level, Article 9 has served as “the foundation for collective security for the entire Asia Pacific region."

In today’s context of exacerbated regional tensions involving Japan, China, and the Koreas, changing the interpretation of Article 9 – coupled with the passing of a number of other measures that significantly undermine Japan’s longstanding pacific policies, as well as a series of controversial remarks on historical and reconciliation issues  – threaten to destabilize the fragile peace in Northeast Asia, triggering an arms race and escalating into a regional – if not global – conflict.

Global Article 9 Campaign                              
Launched in 2005 by a coalition of civil society organizations in Japan, the Global Article 9 Campaign seeks not only to locally protect Article 9; it also acts to educate people around the world about existing international peace mechanisms such as Japan’s Constitution and encourage governments to work towards disarmament, demilitarization and a culture of peace.  

Call for support  
Japanese civil society is mobilizing and seeking your urgent support – for Japan’s peace constitution and against the Japanese government’s trend of nationalism, historical revisionism and its path to militarism that would have grave consequences for Japan, the regional context and international peace.

More information on the Global Article 9 Campaign: www.article-9.org -  Contact celine@peaceboat.gr.jp

Recent signatures

    News

    1. EDITORIAL: Abe must keep international pledge not to wage war

      The Asahi Shimbun analyzes Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s address to the UN General Assembly, interpreting it as a promise “to the people in Japan and abroad that the government will not be involved in military attacks conducted by the United States and other countries and will limit its support activities to nonmilitary fields.”

      “Abe made a promise to international society that Japan will take support measures that are not military contributions. He must not forget the promise.”

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201409290022

      EDITORIAL: Abe must keep international pledge not to wage war - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

      In his Sept. 25 speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan will contribute about $50 million (5.5 billion yen) for refugee support and other activities related to the battle against the militant Islamic State.

    2. Gathering & Demonstration - Save Japan's Peace Article 9. No to war! Sept.4

      On September 4, people and organizations from all around Japan will gather to demonstrate against war and the gutting of Article 9. The Global Article 9 Campaign and the "Anti-War Committee of 1000" invite you to join and demonstrate for peace and against the use of war to solve international disputes.

      This will be an opportunity to appeal for peaceful resolution of
      conflicts around the world such as the ongoing attacks in Gaza, and to
      call on the international community to stop the legitimization of the
      use of force on innocent civilians under the name of self-defense. We
      encourage Japan not to become involved in the use of force, but instead
      to actively contribute to advocating for the human right to live in
      peace for those suffering from the threat or reality of armed conflict
      around the world.

      Date: September 4, Thursday
      Time: 18:00~ Gathering (Messages from organizers and supporters)
      19:15~ Demonstration starts
      Meeting Place: Hibiya Outdoor Music Hall
      Demonstration Route: Hibiya Outdoor Music Hall "Ginza" Tokyo Station

    3. Nagasaki mayor questions Abe’s move to change Article 9

      In his 2014 “peace declaration” speech at the ceremony in Nagasaki, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe's government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan's commitment to its pacifist pledge. “…The rushed debate over collective self-defense has prompted concern that this principle is shaking,” he said. “I strongly request that the Japanese government take note of the situation and carefully listen to the voices of distress and concerns.”

      Read Nagasaki Peace Declaration: http://www.city.nagasaki.lg.jp/peace/english/appeal/index.html

      Read more about criticism on Abe's decision at the ceremony: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/asia/japan/2014/08/10/414491/Nagasaki-mayor.htm

      Nagasaki mayor questions policy on anniversary of A-bomb

      In his "peace declaration" speech at the ceremony in Nagasaki's Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe's government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan's commitment to its pacifist pledge. Thousands of attendants, including U.S.

    4. Statement by Abolition 2000 Global Council

      ABOLITION 2000 is a network of over 2000 organizations in more than 90 countries worldwide working for a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.

      As the world commemorates the 69th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Abolition 2000 Global Council, in solidarity with our Japanese colleagues and members, is concerned by the shift in security policy that Japan is undergoing. The move is epitomized by the recent decision of Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet to change the interpretation of war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution – a decision that substantially eviscerates the clause of its principles and steps away from some of the country’s longstanding peace policies.

      Read the full statement at:
      http://www.abolition2000.org/?p=3499

      Abolition 2000 " Abolition 2000 Global Council Urges Japan Not to Abandon Article 9

      Abolition 2000 Global Council Urges Japan Not to Abandon Article 9 of its Peace Constitution and to Lead Efforts for Negotiations to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons. ARTICLE 9: Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

    5. Peace Boat & Global Article 9 Campaign condemn the gutting of Article 9

      Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign have just released a statement condemning Japan's Cabinet decision and calling on people around the world to remain mobilized to reiterate their commitment to a peaceful Japan.

      Read the statement in English here:
      http://www.article-9.org/en/statement/PBGA9C_A9Statement.pdf
      and in Japanese here:
      http://www.peaceboat.org/files/uploads/global9_A9csdStatement_JPN.pdf

    6. Text of the Cabinet decision to reinterpret Japan's Constitution (English)

      "Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect its People
      July 1, 2014 "

      http://www.cas.go.jp/jp/gaiyou/jimu/pdf/anpohosei_eng.pdf

    7. Reinterpretation of Article 9 a major challenge to peace in North East Asia

      Reinterpretation of Article 9 a major challenge to peace in North East Asia and the rest of the world

      Reinterpreting Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a challenge to Peace in North East Asia. Professor Kevin P ClementsDirectorNational Centre for Peace and Conflict StudiesOtago UniversityJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to " reinterpret" Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is challenging peaceful relationships in North East Asia and dividing Japanese public opinion.

    8. Breaking news: Japan reinterprets Article 9

      Despite huge public opposition and tens of thousands of people demonstrating against his move, Prime Minister Abe and his administration have just passed a Cabinet decision to allow Japanese participation in collective self-defense operations.

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201407010053

      MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: Abe Cabinet opens door for SDF to use force abroad - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

      Despite huge protests around the country, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet on July 1 approved changes to Japan's postwar security policy that could lead to the Self-Defense Forces' use of military force in overseas battles. The Cabinet approved a document that revises the government's interpretation of war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

    9. New Asahi Shimbun poll

      MAJOR SECURITY SHIFT: 9% satisfied with collective self-defense debate; Cabinet support falls to 43%

      Only 9 percent of voters feel the Abe administration has conducted sufficient debate on drastically changing Japan's postwar security policy, while the Cabinet's support rating fell to a new low, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.

    10. Japan Times Commentary: "Abe hijacks democracy, undermines Constitution"

      Abe hijacks democracy, undermines Constitution

      By short-circuiting the democratic process, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is abusing the trust put in him by the people. His initiative to reinterpret Article 9 of the Constitution to lift constraints on the Japanese military and permit collective self-defense is the most recent example of how Abe is trampling on Japanese democracy.

    11. Quakes in Japan's Pacifism

      In an opinion piece featured in Al Jazeera, Akira Kawasaki and Celine Nahory of the Global Article 9 Campaign / Peace Boat critically discusses Prime Minister Abe’s latest moves to re-interpret Japan's peace constitution, the rising nationalism and militarism they reveal, and their repercussions for Japan and the region. It further discusses the challenges ahead for Japan’s peace movement to remain relevant.

      http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/quakes-japan-pacifism-201453074531999339.html

      Quakes in Japan's pacifism

      On May 15, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made public his plan to gut the country's peace constitution by allowing its Self-Defence Force (SDF) to use force overseas. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has long sought to amend Article 9, which renounces war and prohibits maintenance of war potential, the economic capability of a nation to wage war, through an overall constitutional revision.

    12. ASAHI POLL: 67% deem Abe’s plan to reinterpret Constitution as 'improper'

      According to this new survey, 55% of respondents oppose the administration’s plan to reinterpret Article 9 to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, against 29% who support it. Asked about his method of bypassing the due process of approval by the Diet and through a national referendum, 67% find it “improper”, against just 18% that approve it.

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201405260032

      ASAHI POLL: 67% deem Abe's plan to reinterpret Constitution as 'improper'

      Nearly 70 percent of voters believe Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is resorting to "improper" procedures in his drive to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed. Abe plans to change the government's long-established interpretation that war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising the right to collective self-defense.

    13. New petition requesting Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9

      Following the initiative led by Takasu Naomi that succeeded last month to get the "Japanese people who have abided by Article 9" nominated as contenders for the Nobel Peace Award, 60 politicians (mostly from the opposition) have filed a new request in support of Article 9 to the Nobel Committee.

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/05/22/national/japanese-politicians-recommend-article-9-for-nobel-peace-prize/#.U38EGi-RJeo

      Japanese politicians recommend Article 9 for Nobel Peace Prize

      A group of 60 Japanese lawmakers submitted a petition at the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo on Thursday requesting that the Nobel Committee award war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution with the Nobel Peace Prize.

    14. Poll: Japanese oppose overseas military role

      According to the survey, the results of which were released by Kyodo news agency on Sunday, only 39 percent of the respondents expressed support for the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to increase the “collective self-defense rights.”

      http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/05/19/363273/japanese-oppose-overseas-military-role/

      Japanese oppose overseas military role

      Helicopters of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces fly over armored vehicles during an annual live fire exercise at the Higashi-Fuji firing range in Gotemba, at the foot of Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, August 20, 2013. A new opinion poll shows that a majority of Japanese people are against their government's plan to expand the country's military role abroad.

    15. Collective self-defense a question of whether Japan can go

      In this editorial, the Asahi Shimbun qualifies of "unacceptable" Abe's initiative "to enable Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense as a breakthrough in his quest to eventually remove all restrictions imposed by Article 9."

      It further criticizes the move as being "a radical departure from the principle of constitutionalism under which a government is based on a Constitution and could have seriously harmful effects on the nation."

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201405160017

      EDITORIAL: Collective self-defense a question of whether Japan can go to war

      A private advisory panel submitted a report to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on May 15, calling on the government to take steps to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.

    16. Pacifism at a crossroads following panel’s verdict

      Pacifism at a crossroads following panel's verdict

      Self-defense capacity depends on bolstering military alliances, experts say Staff Writer Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic stride Thursday toward his long-held ambition of transforming Japan's pacifist defense policy, ordering the ruling parties to launch talks on removing the self-imposed ban on using the right to collective self-defense.

    17. Anti-war rally takes Abe to task on Constitution

      Diet surrounded in human-chain protest

      Anti-war rally takes Abe to task on Constitution Staff Writer Combating what they call an effort to turn Japan into "a pro-war country," 2,500 people formed a human chain around the Diet building at noon Tuesday to protest the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's drive to reinterpret the pacifist Constitution.

    18. Panel's report says collective self-defense already covered by Article 9

      The panel's report reinterprets the Constitution to allow for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, making Article 9 a dead letter and challenging the principle of constitutionalism.

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201405140028

      Abe panel's report says collective self-defense already covered by Article 9

      A key advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is claiming Japan can exercise the right to collective self-defense because it falls under the minimum required level of defense that is already allowed by the Constitution's pacifist Article 9. Legal scholars, aghast at the conclusion, said the panel seemed set on "destroying" the Constitution that has kept Japan in postwar peace.

    19. New York Times Editorial: Japan’s Pacifist Constitution (May 8, 2014)

      Japan's Pacifist Constitution

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is pushing for an expanded role for the Japanese military that would allow it to fight alongside allies beyond the country's territory. He seeks to shoulder greater global security responsibilities by what he calls proactive pacifism. But he faces a major hurdle.

    20. Nomination of Article 9 of Japan's Constitution for a Nobel Peace Prize

      On April 9, 2014 the Nobel Prize Committee announced it accepted the nomination of the “Japanese people who conserve Article 9” as contenders for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201404200010

      Group to award Nobel Peace Prize to war-renouncing Japanese continues to seek support

      A group campaigning to award the Japanese people the Nobel Peace Prize for abiding by the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution isn't backing off its grassroots effort, now that it has secured an official nomination.

    21. Japanese pacifists rally as poll shows unease over govt plans for military

      Japanese pacifists rally as poll shows unease over govt plans for military

      InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5 TOKYO -- Some 3,000 people rallied Tuesday in a Tokyo park against government plans to soften Japan's constitutional commitment to pacifism and give its military a more active role. The protest came after a national opinion poll showed growing public opposition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to bolster his nation's military.

    22. Asahi poll: 63% oppose Abe's attempt to lift ban on collective self-defense

      A growing number of Japanese citizens are opposing the current administration’s attempts to change the country’s pacifist Constitution or reinterpret Article 9 to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense. This new Asahi Shimbun survey finds that 63% of respondents oppose Abe’s plan to lift the ban, against only 29% in favor.

      Similar polls carried by the Asahi in Japan’s neighboring countries are overwhelmingly against Japan’s lifting the ban, with 95% in China and 85% in South Korea who oppose it.

      http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201404070067

      Asahi poll: 63% oppose Abe's attempt to lift ban on collective self-defense

      More than 60 percent of voters oppose the Abe administration's plan to lift the nation's self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense, according to an Asahi Shimbun survey, reflecting growing concern about the Self-Defense Forces working closer with Washington.

    23. Abe administration seeks to revise ODA Charter to assist militaries

      Abe administration seeks to revise ODA Charter to assist militaries

      The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is looking to revise the Official Development Assistance Charter to allow the program to provide aid to foreign militaries for the first time. The Abe administration launched the review process for the policy changes, which if authorized, would mark a major turning point in the charter.

    24. Japan Ends Decades-Long Ban on Export of Weapons

      Japan Ends Decades-Long Ban on Export of Weapons

      TOKYO - Taking his nation another step away from its postwar pacifism, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discarded a nearly half-century ban on the export of weapons and military hardware on Tuesday, a move aimed at helping Japan assume a larger regional security role to offset China's growing military might.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • 瀬川 健 JAPAN
      • 18 days ago

      平和ほど尊いものはない。

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • 22 days ago

      賛同します

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Yasmin Bottos ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA
      • 27 days ago

      I'm a pacifist

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Joy Friday WINTER PARK, FL
      • 29 days ago

      The people of Japan, not their leaders, should decide if the Constitution should be changed. Abe-san is wedded to the same distortions about Japan's militarism that his grandfather had.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Leigh Clark GRANADA HILLS, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      The Japanese are peace-loving people. Their government, which has betrayed them in the past, needs to respect their wishes and represent the people.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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