Today, Japan’s peace constitution is – probably more than ever – in danger.Japan will hold elections of the Upper House of the Diet on July 21 and several parties, notably Prime Minister Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, have made constitutional revision a priority. If they obtain a majority – and they are in a good posture to get it – they will push for amendment of war-renouncing Article 9 and seek to allow Japan to exercise collective military action.
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, 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, andmore.
In today’s context of regional tensions involving Japan, China, and the Koreas, the debate over amending Article 9 – coupled with revisionist remarks by high-ranking politicians (notably regarding ‘comfort women’ forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s Imperial Army during WWII as being “necessary” and questioning that Japan’s wartime actions should be considered as “aggression”) – 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 -