To: Japanese-U.S. Governments
Abolish War, Save Article 9
Japanese Government: Retain Article 9 of your peace constitution. Your constitution has prevented you from war making for 69 years. Not one soldier or one civilian lost in that time. Sign the enclosed petition and forward it to everyone you know.
Abolish the War-Fighting Law! Don’t Touch Article Nine!
Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
The ruling parties forced war-fighting bills into law in the House of Councilors on September 19, 2015. The “peace and security” legislation, as they call it, is aimed to authorize the government of Japan to use force as a means to settle international disputes, an act renounced under Article Nine of the Constitution of Japan, and thus unconstitutional. The name that is given to it, “peace and security,” is a misnomer because their substance is only about how Japan can fight a war. The legislation is based on a recent Cabinet decision intended to flip-flop the widely accepted interpretation of the Constitution. We categorically reject such a blatant act of denying the principle of constitutionalism both the Cabinet and the National Diet are obligated to comply with.
If Japan takes an action under the war-fighting laws, it means Japan will fight a war overseas. The SDF (Self Defense Forces) will send their soldiers to the battlefield, where they are ordered to kill others or others kill them. It also means Japan will become a direct party to an armed conflict. The situation that unfolds as a result will be without “peace and security” unlike what the laws intend to achieve.
When the war-fighting bills were put to deliberations at the Diet, people from all walks of life came out to voice concern and opposition, and among them were scholars in constitutional law. A series of polls revealed that about 80% were not persuaded by the government’s argument for the bills. Despite opposition spreading all across the country, the ruling parties chose to resort to the sheer force of numbers in the Diet and ram through the bills. Their action is by no means justifiable as it represents gross violation of the principles of popular sovereignty and democracy.
We, undersigned, hereby petition:
1. “The peace and security” legislation, which is nothing but a war-fighting laws, be abolished immediately; and
2. The government strictly adhere to the principles of constitutionalism, and defend and enrich Article Nine of the Constitution of Japan.
Why is this important?
The movement to maintain Article 9 is important because Article 9 is such a positive force for Japanese people and for other nations globally. What makes the movement even stronger is that the movement leaders also want to revise the constitution in their own image - that is, to make it a constitution of the 21st century removed from the influence of World War II. They are supported by important thinkers and activists such as Noam Chomsky, Akihiko Kimijima and Helen Caldicott who stress that Article 9 should be a role model for the world to follow. All emphasize that living in the nuclear age our survival is at stake. To embrace Article 9 is to support the United Nations mandate to abolish war and "turn your swords into ploughshares."
But we must remain consistent over a long period of time. We must outlast big money lobby groups over a long time - and we must be very creative in our strategy. The public at large becomes quickly bored and apathetic unless the new movement is able to stimulate their imaginations and motivate them to take action in support of the protesters. Both General Douglas MacArthur and Prime Minister Kijuro Shidehara were very successful in motivating the voting public to embrace the new peace constitution in 1946. So in conclusion I truly believe there is hope for Article 9, but it will take hard work and consistency. Join hands, hearts and minds to support and promote this wonderful constitution.